Saturday, 10 March 2012

Where to start .....

Not quite where to start this post as I haven't updated the blog since Becky's big operation in late 2011.

Becky, apart from missing a hind leg, is back to full health.  The excessive peeing has stopped and she is back to a completely normal and pain free life.  She enjoys a good hour's walk every day and we are so happy that we made that hard to decision back in November.   She wears a Rough Wear harness which is excellent as it enables us to help her in places she struggles.  Overall she is very able but there is one style on our walk which she cannot manage and so we just lift her over.  She has never much liked being lifted up in our arms so this way she keeps her dignity!  She waits at the style to be lifted which is cute.  We also put her in the car using the handle although she can manage to jump in by herself.   We have found that it is better to walk her on relatively flat and smooth ground as she struggles a little bit on steep inclines and/or really rough ground.  We have to remember she is almost 12 years old although she doesn't behave as such!

Here is Becky enjoying one of her walks.  This is exactly the result we wanted and we are so lucky to have had the best advice, skill and care from our brilliant vet.  More about him in a moment!

So as we were nursing Becky, my little Poppy became quite ill.  She had really bad tummy problems and became quite incontinent with diarrhoea and obvious discomfort.  So, it was back and forth to the vet with her right up to and over Christmas.  I was sleeping with her in the little sitting room every night as it has direct access to the garden so I could let her out.  It was awful as I was getting very little sleep and felt helpless to assist Poppy.   We had to follow her around with a bowl to toilet in because it was almost impossible to clear up and she absolutely hated it but there wasn't much option.   Things got a little bit better but she didn't seem to get back to where she was before the illness.  Then on 18th January we were due to go to look for an armchair in the sales.  Poppy hadn't had a very good night and in the morning she was coughing a lot and I just wasn't happy about her.   I decided I didn't want to go out and leave her and so we changed our plans and booked an appointment with the vet to take her in for a check up.  This appointment was at 11.50 am and we started to get ready to leave about 11.30 am but I couldn't get Poppy off her bed.  I called Andy to help me and he lifted her up and placed her on a rug so she could get some grip but she just fell over.  We took her outside to toilet but she collapsed on the pee patch.  Then it was panic stations and we rushed her into the car and off to the vet.  I honestly thought she would be dead by the time we got there as she was almost completely unresponsive.

Andy carried her into the surgery and Nico checked her out.  He was very quiet and serious (highly unusual for him) and so I was preparing myself for the worst.  Nico had Poppy on the floor to examine her chest and held her balanced on his leg.  When he started to talk to me I thought this was it but instead he said, "I think we need to take a look, in my opinion she either has pneumonia or possibly a tumour but we should x-ray to find out."  He said she was a tough little cookie and deserved a chance.  I was all to ready to agree with this sentiment.  We left her with Nico and went home to await the results.   He called us to say that the x-ray and subsequent scan showed that Poppy had a mass growing inside her tummy.  After discussion we decided that he should go ahead and operate to see exactly what we were dealing with.  We agreed if it looked really bad then we wouldn't proceed with surgery and would instead let her go to sleep.   Nico did precautionary x-rays to make sure nothing had spread to her chest and once this proved to be clear went ahead with the operation.  The more time that went by was for the best as it meant that surgery was continuing and he eventually called us to say that he had found a splenic mass which was bigger than a tennis ball.  He removed the mass and her spleen and she was now recovering.  His gut feeling was that it was benign but it was sent away for histology and we wouldn't get the results for about ten days.  Nico took Poppy home with him that night as he wanted to manage her pain and keep her on a drip.  He told us the reason for her collapse was now obvious, i.e. her blood pressure had dropped due to the tumour bleeding.     I am so glad we didn't go shopping that day because Poppy would have died without the surgery.  We were so happy to get the results some ten days later when we were told that the mass was benign.

Poppy took quite a time to recover but I didn't question our decision to give her a chance and am so glad that we went down this route as in the last couple of weeks she has turned a big corner and is now out enjoying her walks again.    We were so lucky and I am very thankful especially as so many dear friends have lost their beloved dogs recently, some of them taken way before their time.  I am so sad for these friends and count my blessings with regard to both Poppy and Becky.

Here is a little video of Poppy enjoying herself in the snow we had a few weeks back!  She has improved again since this was taken.

To finish of this catch up post we have now arrived at Crufts time of year!  I was up at the NEC yesterday with Jay and Leah to support Jay & Stihl in the ABC competition.  Stihl ran well despite struggling with the surface and came 3rd in the jumping class.   Also running were Bernadette and Zaz who won both the Crufts Singles and the Small Challenge, well done girls.  Karen and Todd were running in a team and did well getting into the final with Todd running clear both times!  Go-Bays!

Today I am catching up with stuff and getting Zeki trimmed, bathed and groomed ready for her Crufts debut She is running in the championship class tomorrow.    I am both nervous and excited at the same time; we are running #1 in the jumping class and mediums are up first!

Good luck to everyone!


  1. Glad the lovely red girls are doing ok - Good Luck and enjoy at Crufts x x

  2. poppy looks so happy bless her :)

  3. Becky looks so great! Wouldn't even know she was missing a leg OR that she is almost 12 years old. I have a tripod BC too (foreleg) and I love seeing the special dogs having a blast :)