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Why I Love Companion Care Vets…

Fletch and I have always had ruff (ha ha) experiences at the vets. He’s a very sociable dog (by sociable, I mean he wants to kiss all people and try to have sex with all other dogs) and so most of our vets trips have been bookmarked by stressful waiting room situations where he pulls and chokes and coughs up bubbly stuff, and I fight against him getting hotter and more embarrassed with each moment that passes.

When I eventually managed to sit down he would cry and try to get under the seats and shed fur like mad…it was very stressful for the both of us. It doesn’t help that most vet’s surgeries are filled with other stressed out animals. Their crying often seemed to make him even more on edge.

We’ve also had some vets be downright mean because of his breed and his talkative nature. I know he’s as soft as whippy ice cream (and SO affectionate), but they don’t, and some of them have said some VERY hurtful things.  So much so that they have had me leaving their practices in tears and refusing to go back.

Now we take Fletch to Companion Care in the Redditch branch of Pets at Home and we couldn’t be happier…

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Firstly, seeing as this is one of the only shops that I’ve taken Fletch into, he was already well used to going in to do fun things like choose toys, try on collars, and buy treats. He’s also met a lot of other dogs in there under non-stressful circumstances and he’s genuinely happy to walk in.

Even when we get up to the back of the shop (where Companion Care is located) he stays calm and interested, rather than pulling around manically…

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Their waiting room is split into two parts around the desk so if there are any stressed animals there we can keep him away from them. Sometimes there’s dogs and cats everywhere in there but because of the fact it’s in a massive pet shop we can always take him for a wander down an aisle if he’s getting worked up.

The vets themselves are fabulous. too. They all say hello to Fletch, pet him LOADS and offer him treats before trying to administer any care so he’s always comfortable and relaxed when the “unfun” things begin. He’s had to stay in for surgery on occasion and every time they’ve reassured us that he’s a lovely natured dog that they’re very happy to have. They’re so much more welcoming of him than the other vets we took him to in Redditch.

Finally, and this only occured to me the other day when we took him in for vaccinations on a Sunday…what other vet surgeries do you know that operate on weekends and bank holidays? Of course, there’s always out of hours and emergency vets, but it’s definitely reassuring to know that we can get hold of people we know and trust pretty much every day of the year.

…above all, it’s lovely that this old boy is happier, more relaxed, and very well cared for…

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Posted by on September 2, 2015 in Animals, Life, Places, Reviews

 

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A Daring Rescue…

Yesterday afternoon at about 3pm I found this little guy hiding by our back door…

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The door was propped open with a sack of dog food and there he was, not balled up, just standing under the door while our new dog (more about him later) gambolled about barking his head off in excitement.

I picked him up in an old blanket and popped him in a box while I consulted my good friend Google on the best course of action.

I came across this website, and saw this at the top…

Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, sleeping during the day and foraging for food late evening through to early morning. They only come out during the day if there is a problem. Any hedgehog found out during daylight should be taken to a carer, vet or wildlife hospital.

My friend Adele and her husband have a hedgehog rescue but I couldn’t get hold of her, so I used the Help Wildlife website to find the next nearest rescue centre, which happened to be The Willows Hedgehog Rescue in Bromsgrove. I called and spoke to Jayne, who told me that our little visitor was probably pretty poorly to be out and about in the daylight and not balling up when faced with a yapping Cockapoo. She asked me to bring him in to them so that they could check him over, so I popped him into our cat carrier with his blanket…

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…popped a towel over the top so it’d be nice and dark for him, and set off for Bromsgrove.

When we arrived I discovered that my little friend had managed to wriggle his way underneath the blankets. I took him inside, met Charlie and Jayne, the owners of The Willows, and Charlie took my little hog off to their hospital (after a few minutes searching the blanket) while Jayne filled out my paperwork.

I’ve got to call them back in a couple of days to see how my rescue-hog is doing, and hopefully I’ll be able to collect him and bring him home soon. There’s a good chance that he might have worms, in which case it’ll be a few weeks until I can go back and get him.

We have been keeping a dish of dried dog food outside for the pooches (just in case they forget there’s one indoors too) so we think he may have been hungry and trying to get some of that. From now on we’ll be keeping a bowl of small-bite dog food out for our hedgehog population (in case we have more than one) and we’ll also be building a hedgehog house a bit like this one (as modelled by Jayne)…

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The Willows Hedgehog Rescue is a not-for-profit, self-funded organisation for the rescue, rehabilitation and release of native hedgehogs. Read more about the work they do here…and about ways that you can help them keep their rescue running here.

I don’t know how much it’ll cost to look after the hedgehog I’ve taken to them but I’ve made a small donation to try and cover the cost of feeding him and any medicines he might need. Hopefully he’ll be back in our garden soon and some of my donation can go towards looking after another hedgehog or two.

…more hedgehog updates to follow!…

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2015 in Animals, Random

 

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Another Claw Bites the Dust…

I was playing with Fletch in the garden on the afternoon of our lovely woodland walk, when Luke pointed out that Fletch was bounding around like an idiot and was likely to rip a claw off.

…and that’s when I noticed the blood all over the patio.

Luckily I have taken a first aid course, so while Luke rang the vets I was busy in the garden elevating Fletch’s paw and applying pressure with a tea towel. Our dog is an accident prone little monkey so as well as my first aid qualification, I’ve also got lots of vet wrap and many hours experience of bandaging his feet.

Within a few minutes (a few shouty, stressed minutes that seemed to go on forever) we had him bandaged and in the car on the way to the dog doctor.

Sadly, despite my best efforts to stop him bleeding, walking to the car and into the vets (through Pets At Home) caused his poorly paw to start bleeding again and nothing the vet could do would get it to stop.

...looking very sorry for himself...

…looking very sorry for himself…

...my bandaging skills in action...

…my bandaging skills in action…

She tried her best to stem the flow with Potassium Permanganate so she wouldn’t have to bandage it (saving us money and herself the problem of bandaging our strong, wriggly dog), but it just wasn’t to be. No matter how much she put on him he was still leaving little spots of blood around the room and I wasn’t happy to take him home and have it start gushing again.

Thankfully she didn’t want us to hold him while the bandaging went on like we had all through the examination and the injections (anti-inflammatory and antibiotic) so we got to sit down and worry about him, which was less stressful than having to wrestle with him.

And that was that!

He emerged shortly after wearing a smart bandage and a cone of shame. Poor puppy. Guilty dog-mommy.

...pleased to be going home...and to have daddy in the back seat with him...

…pleased to be going home…and to have daddy in the back seat with him…

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...wearing his 'going outside' boot...

…wearing his ‘going outside’ boot…

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We shan’t be playing boisterous games in the garden again!

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2015 in Animals, Life

 

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Dog (Birth)Days…

Sunday 4th August was Fletch Pig’s birthday!

I'm 8!

I’m 8!

I know it’s very silly and he has no idea what’s going on, but I still like to buy him presents and indulge him with treats. This year I baked him a birthday cake. A dog-friendly birthday cake. Fletch has really sensitive skin so I have to be careful about what he eats, but I doubt the ingredients in human cakes are much good for any dog really.

A quick Google search later and I’d found this recipe from allrecipies.com…

I think I used too much shredded carrot (I packed the cup too tightly) so I ended up having to add a little more oil and honey to loosen the mixture before I could spoon/spread it into the pan.

Stage one of mixing complete...just before I added too much carrot...

Stage one of mixing complete…just before I added too much carrot…

I also used plain/all purpose flour and not self-raising. Despite the baking soda, the cake didn’t rise, so I’ll try self-raising next time and hopefully it’ll come out lighter and less bready. My resulting ring cake was quite thin looking, a bit dense, and a little blackened (Cajun cake?), and I may have accidentally broken it a little bit as I turned it out, but I can’t say that Fletch seemed to mind the texture or the breaks…he snaffled it at every opportunity!

As a pre-birthday treat he got to lick the batter from the bowl and spoon, which he LOVED…

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…and as an extra treat, I got him a (made for pets) ham bone, which he totalled in about half an hour!

Eating is very serious business for dogs!

Eating is very serious business for dogs!

…I think he had a good day 🙂

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2013 in Animals, Random

 

Bucket Lists – Canine Edition…

Fletch and one of his birthday presents

I’m not the best of dog owners. Fletch gets an extraordinary amount of love, fuss and balls thrown for him (we’re lucky to have a big garden) …but he doesn’t get out and about anywhere near as much as he should do. He’s not the best behaved of animals (my fault) and he’s been very viciously attacked a few times (not my fault), and I’ll admit that I’m lazy and unmotivated when it comes to taking him out. But I’m also wrecked with guilt over it and I’m vowing to make an immediate change.

More Than have created a Bucket List for dogs…it seems silly at first but when you consider that most pet owners get into the rut of morning and evening walks with weekends at the park, it’s nice to think that they’re encouraging people like me to enrich the lives of their pets. Some of the items on the list are utterly banal and others are just ridiculous, but there’s the odd one in there that might inspire people to do more with their pets…and enrich their own lives at the same time!

This is their list (I’ve scored through Fletch’s achievements and added my comments in italics)

  1. Sit on front of a roaring fire – put the word ‘gas’ in the middle of ‘roaring fire’ and Fletch has achieved this…but I think that’s cheating
  2. Swim in the sea
  3. Go mad in the snow 
  4. Do the ‘Beethoven shake’ and soak everyone around you – any dog that’s ever jumped in a puddle or had a bath has done this…
  5. Dig up a flower bed – Fletch once disappeared for ages at my sister-in-law’s house…when we found him he was happily chewing on the 50 year old lavendar plant that he’d dug out of her flower bed. He also likes digging holes around any big branches that fall off our trees…it seems that if they’re too big to move he tries to bury them instead…it’s amazing fun! Apparently…
  6. Have your own spot on the sofa – since my dad moved out, Fletch has his own armchair…spoilt!
  7. Go on a run/cycle ride with your owner – I used to take Fletch out on ‘runs’ with me when I felt like I could handle him pulling me. He loves it, but he can’t quite get the hang of staying at a constant speed and not stopping to sniff every damn thing along the way. Taking him for a cycle ride would be the act of a crazy person
  8. Attend a family picnic – food…on the floor…hmmm, this would be incredible fun for Fletch, but not so much fun for me
  9. Help your owner bag a date – I very much doubt that dogs would worry about this kind of thing!
  10. Cheer your owner up when they are down – Fletch knows when I’m sad…and I’m sure that most other dogs are sensitive to their people
  11. Visit a different continent – I’d love to take Fletch to France…I think this one warrants a blog post all to itself *pending*
  12. Roll in a really stinky, muddy puddle – show me a dog that doesn’t do this, given the opportunity
  13. Ruin a pair of slippers or shoes – I’d really prefer it if fletch DIDN’T do this in his lifetime
  14. Sleep in your owner’s bed – not only does he sleep in my bed, but he stays there even after I’ve gone to work! It’s quite unfair!
  15. Wake your owner up with a big wet, stinky kiss – every morning and every time I fall asleep on the sofa
  16. Chase a cat in a dream
  17. Learn another language (so you can at least say ‘sit’ in two languages) – Okay, so now I want to teach him French…but I’m fairly sure it’d just confuse him even more than he already is
  18. Join in a football game in the park – no, no, no…I can barely stand his embarrassing antics as it is, without him stealing (and bursting) someone’s football
  19. Meet a famous dog (such as Pudsey) – Fletch is (far too) happy to meet ANY dog, let alone a ‘famous’ one…but it’d be cool to say “You know that dog that won Britain’s Got Talent? Yeah? Well my dog tried to hump that dog!”…
  20. Try your paws at dancing – not a huge leap of imagination to see how they got from Pudsey to this…I haven’t started teaching my dog a dance routine (and wouldn’t) but he gets terribly agitated when my sister and I dance around the house and he’s always jumping up us and yapping. To me, that counts as joining in
  21. Learn to speak English (or at least convince your owner that you can howl words) – Fletch might not understand everything I say, and he definitely doesn’t act like he understands me most of the time, but it’s amazing what random stuff he does seem to be paying attention to
  22. Get filthy within 30 seconds of a bath – every dog…
  23. Howl along to your favourite song 
  24. Ride in an open top car – I’m NOT hiring a car…
  25. Learn to skateboard – not all dogs are willing to jump on a skateboard, and it’d be pretty easy for them to get hurt
  26. Have a personalised Christmas stocking – he’d only shred it…
  27. Show the postman who’s boss – Fletch shows EVERYONE who rings the doorbell that he’s boss…he even barks when a doorbell rings on the TV
  28. Try to follow a squirrel up a tree – up a tree, into a hedge, into the road…he’ll chase those squirrels everywhere, which is why he always stays on his lead!
  29. Be a ring bearer – do you want to utterly ruin your wedding? Yes? Then have my dog as a ring bearer
  30. Go to work with your owner – okay if you’re self-employed, have a good dog or an understanding boss, but most workplaces aren’t the best environments for dogs
  31. Have your own Facebook/Twitter account – I thought it’d be funny to upload pictures and say ‘Woof!’ on a few people’s walls…the reality of it is a barely used account that is only really useful for when I want to tag my dog in pictures
  32. Bound through a forest  he bounds EVERYWHERE
  33. Have a personalised kennel – he doesn’t sleep outside, ergo he doesn’t need a kennel, personalised or otherwise
  34. Go on a boat and get your sea legs – a barge holiday would be fun. Trying…but fun!
  35. Play Frisbee on the beach – Frisbees, no…balls, yes
  36. Receive your own birthday card – dogs do NOT care about cards
  37. Steal someone’s lunch when they’re not looking – every time he gets the chance
  38. Create a diversion and steal another dog’s dinner – he steals the cat’s dinner at every possible opportunity
  39. Watch an entire episode of ‘The Washing Machine’ 
  40. Eat doggy ice cream – I had to Google this…it doesn’t seem easy to get hold of, but if I saw it in a pet store then I’d get it as a treat. I’m a bit sad like that…
  41. Receive a doggy birthday cake – this is FAR more like something a dog would be interested in on its birthday…forget cards, it’s cake all the way!
  42. Run a doggy marathon – a sponsored walk with lots of other dogs might drive Fletch utterly bonkers (literally!) at first, but it’s something I’d like to do with him. As well as getting some exercise and having fun, it might be another step along the path of getting him to ignore other dogs
  43. Rip stuffing out of a cushion – Fletch has only ever ripped up one cushion…unfortunately it was a sofa seat cushion *sigh*
  44. Unwrap birthday presents – he loves unwrapping presents…he also loves finding hidden presents before I’ve had a chance to wrap them
  45. Watch Lassie on TV – not Lassie, but he loves nature programs, and his favourite film is 101 Dalmations
  46. Be in a family portrait – this would be a lovely idea if I could get him to sit still
  47. Have a stand off with your own reflection – he tries to tease his reflection by eating treats in front of it…
  48. Have a favourite local pub – our local pubs don’t allow dogs inside, but my friends and I visited a dog-friendly pub while on holiday, and Fletch made friends with EVERYONE
  49. Star in a YouTube video
  50. Sleep in a doggy boutique hotel – I’m lucky to have my family to help me look after Fletch when I’m staying away, but I don’t really like the idea of him being in a kennel or staying in a stranger’s home…I’m not sure what I’d do if I had to leave him with someone I didn’t know while I was away! Nevertheless, I’m not sure many dogs enjoy time away from their people so I’d say that missing out on this isn’t missing out on much

In his life, Fletch has also: met horses (he was keen when they were on the other side of a field, but not so keen when they were leaning over the gate and sniffing him!), been away on holiday with another dog (Fletch hoped it’d be a naughty weekend…but he was very VERY wrong), shared a bed with the love of his life (Sally, a golden retriever…unfortunately, she didn’t love him back, but she did tolerate him in her bed), raced a whippet (and lost), been herded by a sheepdog (despite doing a pretty rubbish impression of a sheep), gotten muddy paw prints in every room of the house, and on every bed (an aspiration of any self-respecting canine), drunk doggy beer, and climbed a castle (okay, so it was only the one at the top of the Lickey Hills, but it still counts!)…

…but one of the things he hasn’t done, is go out camping in Old Red…and I’ve never had the joy of living in a camper van with a dog…

So that’s one more thing for both of our lists!

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2012 in Animals, Random

 

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