A year after Mack.

I am posting this a few days early because I wont be able to do this on Mack’s anniversary.  :-(

The death of Mack on July 25 2013 was the culmination of the most horrible year I have ever had! It all started in 2012 when I was diagnosed with Epilepsy, the very next day we found my brother dead in his home, the victim of a dissected aortic aneurysm. What followed was a quick succession of losses which was almost more that I could tolerate, my brother in law, my grandson and mother in law all died before the end of July 2013. I was feeling totally lost and alone apart from Julia (who I couldn’t burden as she was also suffering) and Indy the wonder Collie. I spent hours cuddled up on the sofa with Indy and he didn’t mind me unloading all of my grief on him, He was a little furry Saviour during some very dark days. I decided shortly after Mack had died that I would start to foster dogs again as it has always been very rewarding and it felt good to help pooches that were also having a hard time. Not long after making this decision I came across Hamish at Irish Retriever Rescue and fell in love with his eyes, something in them reminded me of the sad eyes that Mack had when we first got him out of his tiny crate at Wiccaweys. Mack had already had a horrible life before being “rescued” by Wiccaweys, he arrived emaciated, filthy and petrified of everything! and then his “rescuers” stuck him in a small travel crate in the back of a van for 5 months! We would have fostered Mack sooner but we already had a nervous foster dog and would have struggled with another, as soon as our foster got a home we picked up Mack and brought him home.

Life was interesting with Mack, Mack’s take on being scared was if it spooks ya, ya bite it and then shout at it!! Our son was bitten more times than he cares to remember, 2 of my brothers lost chunks from their legs and another brother had his shirt ripped off. Walks were long because we had to swerve around all other people and dogs but we knew that there was an “inner Mack” that would be beautiful, it took 2 years but we finally found it.

Warkworth21

This is the Mack that we discovered, a big, goofy, playful and loving companion. Mack would follow me everywhere and I always felt safe with him at my side, he was no longer reactive but he had a sense of a dodgy person when he saw one and would give a low growl then a fierce bark if needed. At home Mack was relaxed and contented, he would play with Indy then curl up on the rug that my Mum had given to him because she said the wood floor was too uncomfortable for him. :-) Mack was finally getting the life that he had always deserved and then he went off his food! This was unheard of for Mack as he loved to eat, after 24 hours of not being himself I took him to the vet who said he probably had a stomach bug? she gave him antibiotics and gave dietary advice. Mack had been on the 7 day course of antibiotics for 4 days and suddenly appeared worse, I rushed him to the vet and had to leave him for some tests, 4 hours later I got a frantic message from the vet to go down there. When I got to the vet office I was told that Mack was in respiratory distress and didn’t have long to live, I went into the treatment room and Mack dragged himself to meet me and collapsed at my feet, I laid down on the floor with him as he died. The tests had revealed tumours on his heart and liver which were the result of Hemangiosarcoma, the tumour on his heart had been bleeding and slowly filling his pericardial sac with blood stopping it from pumping properly. A very cruel end for a dog that had been through so much in his short life. Mack was only 6 or 7 years old!

Missing her already

This was the last picture that I took of Mack and it is fitting that he is next to his friend and mentor, Indy.

It wasn’t until we adopted Hamish that I realised how many little character traits and quirks Mack had, Hamish does all of the same sweet, soppy and cheeky things that Mack did, along with some of the cheekiest bits from Luca (our late Golden Retriever) I think Mack lives on. :-)  Mack’s real legacy is that he inspired me to foster again so that we can help some more pooches on their way to a home of their own. The first of these foster dogs is Annie from Love Underdogs. She is very nervous/timid and still avoids me when she can but feels safe with Julia so that is a start. What Mack did teach me that will now benefit Annie is that you can’t train the nervousness out of a dog, you have to just be there, be consistent, give them your time and let them discover that they can trust you which in turn leads to them learning to trust the rest of the world.

Annie has a mentor in Hamish.

Annie has a mentor in Hamish.

I still miss Mack every single day just as I do my Golden boy, Luca. I could happily eulogise them daily but there comes a point when you have to let “sleeping dogs lie” and move forwards. My boys will pop up in the odd post or two but the annual remembrance postings will cease. Future pooches will reap the benefits of all that Luca and Mack have taught me and through them they will live on, forever.

 

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Upset tummies for all (almost)

It would appear as though Julia possessed some bad murdered animal flesh? She always shares her meat with the dogs so it is the only reason we can think of for the upset stomachs that they have all had this week. Indy was the first quickly followed by Annie and Hamish and lastly Julia, after a couple of days of bland food they all appear to be well again. I wouldn’t gloat during these unpleasant times just because I don’t contribute to the suffering of animals and stick to healthy and suffering free vegetables, indeed, I had and showed a great deal of sympathy…… for the dogs. :-D

Annie is starting to explore a little more and likes to follow Hamish around, she is still more nervous around me than she is Julia but even this has improved a little. I did have to invest in some proper doggie gates as Annie would easily hop over the baby gates whenever Julia left the room, on one occasion I didn’t notice until Hamish crashed through the gate and went upstairs, I followed him only to find him standing over a stretched out Annie on the landing. :-)  Luca was always a snitch whenever a foster dog misbehaved? it must be a Goldie thing. Annie now gets excited at walk times and crowds into our tiny hallway with Me, Julia and the boys all jostling for space to get ready and through the door, she isn’t worried by me being close to her then?

Annie and her foster brother, Hamish.

Annie loves Hamish

For a shy girl she is bold in claiming a comfortable seat. :-)

Annie likes her comfort

We are under no illusions and still take every precaution when outside, even in the garden we are aware that a fright could send her running in a panic.

Toilet break

Just with the tiny changes to Annie in the last ten days we can see her potential, when she is more confident and relaxed she will make someone a fantastic companion. Already Annie is very sweet and loves affection given gently, we can see in her movements that she wants to approach people for a scruffle and it is only fear holding her back. :-(   We have all the time she needs in order to become the wonderful Annie that she wants to be.

Arun is a 3 year old dog looking for a home. Arun is currently at Glebe farm, home of Love underdogs.

 

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Little orphan Annie. (not an update) ;-)

I was going to wait until the weekend to do a short update on Annie but I couldn’t wait. As with all the timid dogs we have fostered, Indy just ignores Annie, I think this is the normal way to treat an unstable dog in the pack? Hamish, on the other hand Loves Annie, He leaves her alone but periodically pops over to her and just touches noses to make sure she is ok. :-) Hamish has acted quite maturely and sensibly since Annie arrived which is very odd because he is normally a big doofus.

Today we took Annie on the big morning walk with the boys, she had a great time.

Discovering the first strange street corner.

nice corner

Walking under the calming influence of Indy.

Indy looks after Annie (1)

Pausing with Hamish.

Hamish loves his sister

Cooling off in the long grass.

Annie hiding in the grass

We still have a long way to go but Annie is slowly learning who we are, once she knows that she can trust us she can take in new things and build some confidence. She did bring a small tear to my eye this evening, She normally gives me a wide berth but when I came in from the car she came out of her crate, met me at the baby gate and joined Hamish pushing faces between the bars for a chin rub.  Made my day. :-)

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Can you help Bobbi Underdog?

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Day out at the dog show.

Today we took Indy and Hamish to the Love underdogs fun day, it was fun. Indy met hundreds of dogs and even entered the oldies section of the dog show. Hamish loved meeting the dogs and a few of the people. We got to meet some of the wonderful Love underdogs people and they let us foster Annie. :-)

We spent some time in a paddock with Annie while the boys were loose just sniffing around, for the most part they ignored Annie, which we have always found to be a good sign. Just before we left the boys laid down with Annie and they shared a lick or two. The journey home was very relaxed, she just flopped down in the car while Hamish and Indy hogged the open windows.

We got home and Julia took Annie to the garden while I put up a crate for her “hidey hole” she had a good explore and a wee, came in and went in her crate for a few minutes.

Annie arrives (1)

 

As it was time to feed Hamish and Indy, we gave Annie some food and she ate some! I was surprised that she relaxed so soon. She has had a good look around the ground floor of the house and has found a spot in the kitchen that she likes. she is now resting there. :-)

Annie arrives (6)

 

Annie did have a quick look around Hamish’s giant crate which is where all toys live, as she decided to lay right where his toys are he had a sulk and went and threw himself down in Indy’s little bed. :-D

I think she will do just fine, a few days of finding her feet and getting to know us all and then she can start to explore the world.

There are many gorgeous dogs at Love underdogs, all shapes, sizes, colours and ages so if you are looking for a companion take a look at the website for more information.

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Out and about with Indy and Hamish.

Last weekend we went to the motorhome show at Stratford Upon Avon, we intended to look at motorhomes to get an idea of what we want but it was also for Hamish to socialise. We achieved both aims as Hamish was an absolute star, he even took treats from 2 different people.  :-)

Happy Hamish

We spent hours walking among crowds of people which was perfect for Indy but it was a test for Hamish, He passed with flying colours as he only got spooked twice when people suddenly appeared behind him. After a long day the boys picked a van that they like and lay at the side of it (shame it was one we couldn’t afford).

Resting at Stratford

 

Tomorrow we are going to the fun day at Love underdogs where Hamish can practice his new people skills, we will also be hoping to meet the dogs needing homes as we have just been accepted as fosterers. :-) Details can also be found on the Love underdogs facebook page.

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Football World cup.

Hamish and Indy really got into the spirit of the World cup but unfortunately it didn’t help, England lost anyway. :-(

I have a sneaking suspicion that the boys cast a jinx on England as Indy is from Scotland and Hamish is from Ireland. :-D

boys supporting England

Indy supporter

Hamish supporter

The dog needing a home today is 8 year old Thor. Thor is from Irish Retriever Rescue.

Thor

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On the road again.

Due to my Epilepsy I had to stop driving for a while but now after 21 months of waiting I am finally mobile again. :-)  My licence arrived a little over a week ago but then we had to find insurance and get an MOT (road worthiness certificate) Now that this is all done and I have taken my first tentative drive into town, it is like I have always driven. I was astonished by the condition of the car after being laid up for so long but all it took to be roadworthy was the handbrake servicing, my friend who is an MOT certified mechanic checked it thoroughly and was surprised by how good the car is! Good old Japanese engineering. :-D  We are now looking for a motorhome, I have been persuaded (by Julia) to look for an automatic so that she can share the driving, they are as rare as rocking horse droppings but I will try. We will be going to a motorhome show at Stratford upon Avon next weekend to start our search.

Hamish is very happy that he will be able to visit some nice country parks and beaches, Indy is less pleased because he isn’t crazy about car travel.

Hamish may not look thrilled but he is.

Hamish profile

 

 

 

This is how Indy does thrilled! :-D

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The dog looking for a home today is 2 year old Sam who is available from Irish Retriever Rescue.

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One dogs story.

At the weekend I was again reading Wiccaweys uncovered on Facebook, although the whole site depicts the shocking conditions at Wiccaweys it is the individual stories that make my eyes leak the most. I spent some time thinking about all of the beautiful dogs that have been through Wiccaweys since I started to volunteer there. All of this thinking brought to mind one special dog… Jonty.

Jonty R I P (1)

 

Jonty arrived from Ireland several year years ago and from day one I knew that he was special, I thought he would soon be gone as he was the most sorted dog I had seen at Wiccaweys since I started there. Jonty was a beautiful fluffy tri colour Collie who loved people, walked nicely, didn’t trouble any dogs or the other animals at Wiccaweys in fact he was an “instant pet”. The only thing that troubled me about Jonty was he hated to be in his crate! I couldn’t blame him because it wasn’t one of the “palatial” crates featured on Wiccaweys uncovered but a travel crate only suited for a short car journey! Whenever I arrived on walking days I wanted to be first to the barn so that I could walk Jonty, as soon as the barn opened and the light fell on his crate his tail would slowly start to wag but the closer I got to his crate the faster it would wag until as I opened the crate his whole body was wagging. After Jonty had been there a few weeks Julia and I stopped by for a Wednesday walk and found that Jonty was ill, he was wheezing, panting, lethargic and had a horrible green goop in his eyes! I told Sarah who said “he was fine last night, I will take him to the vet later” so we left it there. on Saturday when I arrived I went to the barn and his crate was empty, as Sarah was there getting dogs out for the other walkers I asked her if Jonty had been adopted? she didn’t answer, because she was busy I got another dog and started walking. Half way through the morning I was walking up the drive when Sarah pulled up in her car she wound down the window and said “Jonty died in the night, heart failure” and then she drove away! As I now know because of Mack dying last year dogs do die of heart failure out of the blue but I have always suspected that the condition he was suffering during the week may have contributed? I have never forgotten that beautiful Irish boy and often look at the pictures that I have of him on my laptop, I always question whether I should have offered to foster him (we had a foster dog at the time but could have squeezed him in) Would it have made a difference? I will never know. :-(

I am a fervent believer in dog rescues large and small but now I will be bolder when visiting a rescue and not just accept the “if you don’t like it you can leave” response to my questions. I think we owe it to rescue animals to report poorly run rescues and if the RSPCA don’t respond well, as in the Wiccaweys case, we should persevere and use every channel there is until things are put right.

Do it for Jonty

 

Jonty deserved better.

Jonty deserved better.

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I am not going to feature a single rescue dog in this posting but will instead share this link to dogs blog

Here you will find hundreds of dogs from dozens of rescues all over the UK. There will be a breed, size, age and colour of dog to suit every home.

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MS fatigue, reading and fishing.

MS fatigue can be a real drag, eating into my days and stopping me doing the things that I want to do! Lately I have been having 3 or 4 naps per day on top of sleeping 8 or 9 hours during the night! The trouble is that some of my Epilepsy medication contributes to the tiredness. That’s the moaning out of the way so now the positive stuff. Being too exhausted to walk has meant that I have filled my days with reading, I have re-read 2 more books by Anna Nicholas, “Goats from a small island” and “Donkeys on my doorstep” which has helped pass my awake time nicely. I also read an inspiring book by Rosie Swale Pope, called “Just a small run around the world” which as the title suggests is about an epic run around the world. Rosie took 5 years to complete a solo unsupported 20,000 mile run in honour of her late husband and to raise awareness about cancer. The only downside to Rosie’s book is it made me realise how lazy I am and just how often I feel sorry for myself! :-D

I managed a morning of fishing last week, it was a beautiful sunny day which always make fishing a pleasure. I was quite successful catching 9 bream and 2 tench as well as masses of tiddlers. all were returned safely to the lake so that I can catch them again another day. :-)

Tench of about 2 pounds

Tench of about 2 pounds

 

I like to catch Tench as they put up a good fight for their size, unlike Bream who get dragged in like a soggy rag. :-D

Bream or possibly hybrid of about 3 pounds.

Bream or possibly hybrid of about 3 pounds.

A Bream of 4ish pounds.

A Bream of 4ish pounds.

In other good news, My driving licence finally arrived 19 months after I surrendered it. Despite being told by the DVLA several months ago that I could resume driving I found I couldn’t get insurance until I had actually received my licence? My friend is sorting the car out this week and taking it for the MOT and then I am “normal” again.

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Oscar needs a home.

Oscar is 5 or 6 years old and has been rescued by Irish Retriever Rescue.

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Does nature have a soul?

For years we had a large bush under our kitchen window which we called the fish bush because of the smell of the blossom, it is actually a Pyracantha.  When Mack arrived we renamed it the Mack bush as he spent every spare minute laying under it, rain or shine.

 Mack a doodle in his bush

 Snoozer doodle

Mack loved his bush so much he would dig out little hollows to lay in so that he was comfortable, because of this I removed the grass and replaced it with gravel so he could be nice and comfy. As I have posted before, Mack died on the 25th of July last year. Since Mack died I started to notice a change in his bush, the leaves lost their gloss and this winter the berries started to shrivel before the blackbirds could eat them? when spring arrived and the bush was devoid of blossom I knew the bush had died. I am sure it was caused by a disease or a parasite but the timing makes me think that perhaps Mother nature took the bush for Mack. Yesterday I dug out the stump and planted a new bush, it wont be a “Mack bush” as it is a different variety but it will bring back some colour, give the birds somewhere to hide and you never know in time it may become the “Hamish bush”?

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Today I am featuring Ruby who is in the care of Irish retriever rescue.

Age: 3 years old

Sex: female, not yet spayed

History
Ruby is a golden retriever/collie crossbreed and was rescued by IRR from a pound. 

Personality
This lady is quite nervous and she does exhibit some collie personality traits

Ruby’s dream home
ideally Ruby needs to be rehomed as an only dog with someone who has 
experience with collies, who will be patient and consistent with her continued 
training and energy requirements. She’s not recommended for young children.

Behaviour with other animals – not good with cats or rabbits, ok with other dogs. 

Fostered in – Northampton.

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