Monday, 28 March 2011

Sad News.

Buster and Bailey

Still learning to get over the loss of Taffy who felt like the heart of our home at times we have had more very sad news today.When we took Bailey to the vets we also took one of our cats in as he had a  lump on his head that I was worried about.The vet decided it would be wise to remove the lump and so Buster under went surgery last Thursday.

He came home a little groggy from the aneasthetic and I nursed both of my four legged male patients.We have waited for the results from the test on the growth that was removed and have now heard poor Buster has cancer. There is absolutely nothing the vets can do.The growth was attached to bone and  Buster has two months to a year to live. 

I am absolutely heartbroken.These two pets have been inseperable since Bailey arrived as a puppy at the same time as Buster when he was a kitten. They have bonded in such a sweet way. Every evening there is always the usual  playtime where they will communicate and play with the other.This always fascinates friends visiting to see a dog and cat so happy together.

Poor Bailey will be losing yet another close companion in such a short period of time.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Osteo Arthritis In Dogs

Bailey on Wednesday in sunshine

The last few weeks have seen my beatiful Bailey blossom as he goes through one routine after the other in training with Maxine the wonderful behavourist that visits our home to help me re train Bailey after the loss of sweet Taffy.

The training programmes began with basic steps at first to sessions involving lead work and walking with other dogs. He has been brilliant and I look forward to every new command and game we play which as an owner feels really special.  Each day starts with small rewards inside the home followed by lead work/walks outside and then the training session in the garden. Working from home as an artist I appreciate I have the time to do this as I spend hours a day with my pet. I take breaks from painting and  these are even more relaxing times to work with my dog.

Unfortunately during these training sessions both Maxine and I have picked up a problem in Baileys front shoulders and legs. At times he appears to limp slightly or walk differently. He hasn't had longer walks during the training sessions so this puzzled me. In fact he has had  shorter walks while training with more focus on each new command. When Bailey was a young pup we were advised he may have elbow dysplasia but following specialist advise then and care as he matured all signs of the problem seemed to vanish so we had hoped this wasn't an issue.

We took Bailey to the vet  this week where under aneasthetic x-rays we could look into what was really going on. Bailey has Osteo Arthritis. His  x-rays showed very clearly where the problems  lay. I feel so sorry for him because  this condition can get worse as he ages. We return to the vets on Monday and will be looking into ways to handle making Baileys life as wonderful and comfortable as possible. Sadly we have been advised to avoid long walks which is such a shame for a young dog who adores running as fast as he can. His diet will be easy to monitor as he eats healthily already and is not over weight.
The mental stimulation he recieves from his training sessions will help so much to keep him happy and will now become even more important. I am going to research all the options for  treating dogs with osteo arthritis. I know Maxine will be able to help me when she visits next.The vet has been fantastic so with help Bailey will still have a wonderful life.

As Bailey was under aneasthetic we have also opted for health reasons to neuter our dog which was a very hard decision to make.  I realise it wouldn't be wise to breed from Bailey as his problem could be genetic. I also understand that prostate cancer in male dogs is a risk I don't want to put my wonderful boy in danger of. There were other issues that we were advised could be improved if the operation took place.  Bailey has bounced back very quickly from his trip to the vets and is waiting by my side for his next treat and game so I had best get off this computer!

Any Bearded Collie owner will tell you it is absolutely impossible to ignore big brown eyes pleading for the next game or playtime!

I have been asked so I will mention,yes. I have contacted Baileys breeder to let them know how Bailey is which is always wise and  in my view the correct thing to do when health issues arise.

Life with Bailey in Spring 2011

Bailey in sunshine this week

This week has been one full of  sunshine and moments in the garden where life is absolutely fantastic. Bailey has taken to sitting under the same tree that Taffy used to love. In the above photograph he is smiling at the camera after demolishing quite a few small treats during his now daily training routines. To be honest these sessions are so much fun for both of us and I am keeping very fit. His latest game is learning  how to walk between my legs as seen in agility dog shows. This must look a little ridiculous to passers by on the other side of the water bank.The early stages of his training have me walking like the ministry of funny walks performed by John Cleese!

Getting an established and experienced behavourist in when Bailey was grieving was the best action I could ever take as a dog owver. Even though I loved Bailey I couldn't read the signs. I knew something was terribly wrong and many suggested a new puppy could be the answer as maybe a new companion would help. But I felt Bailey needed to adjust to life without Taffy first.

We were recommended to bring in an amazing person in the form of Maxine Corrie Thomas. A friend nearby had been experiencing problems with her male dog some time ago after the loss of her husband. I listened and knew this could be the person to help. How right I was. Maxines' son has just won an award at Crufts as Junior Dog Handler of the Year so her way with animals must run in her family.

The difference in just a few weeks from having an expert walk in and quietly help is incredible. Friends now visiting wonder if we have actually changed Bailey for  a different Beardie! He is so happy, full of life,eager to learn his new tricks and by my side as always constantly but this is something I need to learn to change.

I have to allow Bailey to follow instructions from  others so that he learns  it isn't only me in his life that counts.The bond between us is very close indeed so we now play games involving him having to come to others commands which will help balance his confidence and help him grow into a more sociable pet.
Bailey going through his paces with my Grand Daughter Cassie.
He is waiting for the next command and eagerly looking  at her face for the next move she makes which will by hand asking him to " touch".

The last few weeks have seen such a terrific change in my lovely boy. He is now a sheer joy to own and  every minute spent turning him around has been worth it. But this will be a constant programme involving love,time and patience. I am not sure if I will ever introduce another puppy. I feel Bailey needs this time alone but if the time ever is right we will consider the option. 


To anyone reading my blog who has problems with their dog I really do suggest seeking expert help. There are times in life when human relationships don't work out or they go through hiccups. The  change in  Bailey after losing Taffy was really too great for me to deal with alone.  I strongly believe if the love is there things can be resolved. But the key word definitely has to be love And of course  looking into ways to correct what is going wrong.