Friday, 12 September 2008


Seems like I have been away for ages and ages. Unforgivable but the truth is when things are going well, I am not sure what to write about! Sad but true. Things are going well, Mum is back pretty much to normal, Fudge is at home with her and Larry (or Harry as my mum sometimes calls him - no idea why) is his usual grumpy self. And I am feeling SO much better.

I never mentioned it, but since about May I have been on anti-depressants and having counselling. I just couldn't take any more and felt I was losing the plot. Helped me to face many demons from the past and have a future that I look forward to. Although it was hard to admit that I was struggling I think it was the best thing I ever did. I would recommend it to anyone who has long term depression.

Anyway, enough about that and on to nicer things. Tomorrow we are off to Cornwall again for a week. We haven't had a break since April and are both in need of one. We have found a beautiful house in the middle of nowhere in South Cornwall just near the South Devon border. It looks lovely. An acre and a half garden for the lazy collie to wander in and a creak at the bottom. Sounds idyllic, I hope that it is.

I have been keeping up with the blogs though and am amazed and delighted to see Herbie still going strong. He really is Herbie the Wonder Dog!
I cannot believe that in about 8 weeks it will be a year since Yogi was first diagnosed with his cancer. It seems incredible that this year has gone so fast. I still miss him so badly that it hurts sometimes, but I am so grateful that he shared his life with us for as long as he did.

I hope everyone is well and enjoying this wonderful summer (not) that we have had. I promise that I will post some holiday pics when I get back :o)

Sunday, 3 August 2008

I feel as if a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. This is why.
Mum had chemo number 3 and this time was the worst it has ever been. Instead of rallying she got sicker and weaker each day. Last Saturday she called me in tears to take her to the hospital. When I got to her house she was collapsing every few minutes, she couldn't breathe and she was weak and dizzy. I have never been so frightened in all my life. After getting her to the hospital (bad planning meant that we had to get her there in my sports car as the "sensible" car had no petrol! Funny now but not so at the time) she was examined and put on a drip. Then they had to find out what was causing the reaction. ~The options were not nice. Either a clot on the lung, the remaining adrenal gland not working or the chemo had damaged her in some way. They started testing. Day after day she didn't get any better. The test results came back on Thursday. No clot, adrenal gland working, hooray. Trouble was she was still feeling so ill. She still couldn't walk or breathe properly. Thursday afternoon they decided to do a blood transfusion as she was so very anaemic. She was so low and depressed. It was really scary. On Friday morning I spoke to her and she was just like her old self!! She said she felt great! She had one more bag of blood to go and then she wanted a lift to Essex about 100 miles away to see her grand-daughter in her school play!!! Rich picked her up and did the honours and see the play she did. I simply cannot believe the strength and determination that she has. If I had half of it, I would be proud.

She cannot have any more chemo as that last one nearly finished her off. She just has to get strong now and live her life. The doctors all say how well she has done to get this far. She has had most of the sessions so all that will help.

I just feel that things are going to be easier now. It has been a year and a half of hell. A lot of the time I haven't known which way is up really. Coping with all this and Yogi has tested me to my limits I think. Lesley, you are right, she is the Herbie of the human world!!

So, in order to prepare her for having Fudge back, we thought it would be easier if she had short hair (Fudge not mum :o)). This is the result.....
Not sure if she looks like a fox with mange or a goat maybe???

It will be 2 or 3 weeks before she can go home so hopefully it will have grown a bit by then :o) And mum will have forgiven us!!!!

Actually I think that she is much more comfortable in this heat without that great thick coat and mum does too (thankfully)

Larry didn't recognise her and growled when she came back. Then he has been moaning constantly about "women walking around in the buff - not right at all" :o)

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Dr Larry to the Rescue.....

When mum is feeling OK, she picks up the dogs from our house while we are at work to keep her company during the day. This is great for her (I think) and also great for the dogs. Larry seems to think that it is his job to keep her active. He will sit just behind her chair, just out of reach and start to make noises :o) She calls him, he stares at her and makes more noises. She has to then get up and stroke him, or give him a biscuit or play with him!!! He is turning into a spoiled brat and she is turning into his slave :o). Trouble is when he trys pulling that stunt at home. It doesn't work here. I would imagine its the same when kids go round to their grandparents and get spoiled rotten. Oh well, as long as he knows he can wrap my mum round his little paw but it won't work with me! Larry says he is just keeping her active....hmmmm. :o)

Tomorrow is chemo number 3 for mum providing the blood test was OK on Friday. We are dreading it a bit as after a few days she will NOT be feeling well at all. But she is doing so well to continue. If it was me, I am not sure that I would. Last week her temperature dropped down to 33. That I gather is nearly hypothermic!! It is a real worry each time she has a treatment as to how she will be.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. After this cycle, there is just one more to go. I gather that only one person that has been treated with this protocol at this hospital has ever completed the course. When mum finishes she will be the second one! Well done mum!!

The hospital have also completed their investigation following her misdiagnosis. They have apologised. The cancer was visible on Xray a year before they told her. Where we go from here I don't know. At the moment, we just need to concentrate on getting her through this and then well and not dwell on the past.
That's what Larry and Fudge say anyway :o)

Sunday, 29 June 2008

The last 4 weeks have been so difficult for my poor mum. She seems to have turned into a little old lady. The chemo has sapped her strength, her energy and sometimes she seems so very low which is frightening. For most of it she has been able to do absolutely nothing. Unable to walk with or look after Fudge. Unable to do things that we all take for granted like simple housework. Understandably she gets very low at times. She was supposed to start another cycle last Monday following a blood test to check that she was strong enough to take it. She wasn't. Her white cell count had dropped further and it was just too dangerous to inflict another bout of chemo on her already depleted immune system. She saw the oncologist who seemed rather surprised that she would even consider going back for more.

Fudge has more or less been permanently living with us for quite a while now. Mum keeps saying that Fudge sees our home as hers. I find that heartbreaking, she must feel like she has lost everything. Yes, Fudge is happy here with Larry, but when we take her back to spend the day at Mum's she gets so excited. She still knows that Mum is HER Mum. I guess that we should be grateful that she is such an adaptable little dog. I wish that she could resume her normal life back where she belongs with Mum though.

Yesterday Mum made a decision. I think that over the past week she has been feeling stronger and brighter. She says that if she is unable to have the chemo tomorrow, she is not going to continue. She doesn't want to feel ill any more. I have to say that I agree with her. It is scary but is it worth months and months of feeling terrible for such a small benefit? All we can do is support her decision and pray that whatever happens is for the best...

On a brighter note, here are some pics of the dogs on a recent weekend away. Larry, against explicit instructions not to, decided to take matters into his own paws and have a mud bath! He was just about covered from head to toe in brown gook. Since there was nowhere to wash him he had to stay like that til we got home :o) For days afterwards his coat had a pinkish tinge to it. In fact it still isn't quite back to his pristine white that it should be. Good old Larry :o)


Monday, 9 June 2008

The dark side ......

Firstly, I need to apologise for staying away for rather a long time. I can only put it down to an incredibly low mood. Blogging when feeling that bad seemed almost too difficult.
It seemed to spiral downwards when we saw the oncologist and they said that mum needed chemo. The details that followed were not pleasant at all.
The chemo that mum needed was for the lung cancer. The breast cancer, they said needed no further treatment. The lung, as the cancer had spread (to the adrenals) needed to be blasted with chemicals so strong that they had the potential to wipe someone out completely. The oncologist had treated 5 people with this particular protocol. Only 1 had managed to finish the course! The actual drugs and the side effects were so aggressive that they are virtually intolerable (or so we were told) Furthermore, the only benefit is a 5% extra chance that the cancer will not return (I don't think that even means "ever" but for a reasonable amount of time). Mum being the tough cookie that she is, wants to take that "5%". We have to support that decision. Not sure if it is all that has happened lately but it sent me into a deep deep gloom. The thought of more illness, more suffering and more unknown was such a lot to contend with and I must admit I am not handling it well.
So, last Monday was D Day or C = Chemo day. An overnight stay while mum is pumped through with the most powerful drugs and then wait. The side effects started arriving the next day. Sickness being the worst. By Friday, she was blacking out, being sick and completely beside herself with distress. Back to hospital. They found her blood pressure through the floor and complete dehydration. I cannot fault the hospital, they took her straight in and got her on a drip. Gave her different medication for the nausea and got her feeling human again. What a scare though. Yesterday she was feeling brighter and more ready for today's onslaught. So, she now gets a week and a bit to recover and then more of the same. She is going to see how she feels at the end of this week and decide along with her doctors whether she can continue. She is very brave I am very scared. My fears seem to be coming true. I must try and be more positve but God, is it hard. Every little problem seems magnified these days.
So, that's why I haven't been blogging lately. When all seems so very black it's difficult to think straight. I am trying....hard.
Larry is doing his best to keep our spirits up. Don't know what I would do without him either. I wish that Yogi was here too......

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Bank Holiday in Norfolk

Over the last few months we have spent many of our weekends in Norfolk. Rich's parents live near there and it is only about one hour or so from where we live so very convenient for a quick getaway. I love it there especially the north Norfolk coast and I think it saved my sanity when Yogi and my mum were so ill.

So the last weekend with the prospect of lovely walks AND warm weather was an enticing thought. Unfortunately it seemed that was everyone else's idea too :o). Usually we don't see anyone on our walks, this time there was people EVERYWHERE! Quite a shock to the system. Still had a great time though.

We thought that we should take a friend for Larry so he doesn't get too used to being an only dog. So we borrowed Fudge off Mum for the weekend. It was lovely to have two dogs again. I still miss Yogi terribly but the pain is less raw now. I can think of him and smile and I never thought I would be able to do that again. I can also think of him and cry, but it's not that devastating out of control feeling that I used to have. I guess that's called acceptance.

On the Saturday we chose a walk of about 9 miles. Not too taxing since Norfolk is relatively flat but we knew it would take all day (with a stop at a local watering hole) Rich's mum and dad were also up for it. Not bad for a couple in their 70's!!!! The walk began at Burnham Overy and took in the stunning Holkham Hall and deer park then finished walking along the dunes back to Burnham. That was probably the toughest bit. Walking on sand is a bit like walking through treacle and the last couple of miles were quite hard on all of us even the dogs looked a bit pooped.

Walking through the deer park and around the hall was lovely. Beautiful grounds and incredible views. Then to get out there was a cattle grid. None of us could see a gate nearby to take the dogs through so the only way was to carry them over as I have seen dogs falling through and it could easily break one of their legs. That is my job (Rich has a dodgy back so best if he doesn't pick up heavy or awkward weights) so picked up Larry and began to teeter over. Larry weighs about 30 kilos so is not a light dog and although once up in the air I can manage I wouldn't say it's exactly easy. As I struggled across trying not to fall through the grid, an unbelievably selfish man in a car, obviously in a hurry couldn't wait and decided to cross the grid at the same time. I lost it a little and told him off a bit. Why is everyone in such a hurry all the time??? Anyway, then he waited until I put Larry down and went off. Went back for Fudge (another porky dog) and did the same again. By this time, I was red in the face and quite knackered. There was another man (not sure if he was a gate man) sitting in a chair by a shop. He had been watching it all. As I put Fudge down he piped up with "why didn't you use the gate over there?" Aaarrrggghhhh.....:o)))

Recovering my dignity we walked away and into a wood. Here there were two gorgeous horses in a field that I wanted to make friends with. Spent a lovely 10 minutes or so talking to them and stroking them. One was a skewbald mare and the other a lovely dark bay gelding. He looked very young and I wondered if he was her foal. They seemed friendly and enjoyed the fuss. I leaned forward as I wanted to see if they were shod (I am nosey like that) and all of a sudden, the mare sank her teeth into my back!!!! Boy was that painful. My fault entirely as I didn't really know her but......It gave everyone a good laugh though :o)

On Sunday we did another 8 miles around Holme and Hunstanton. I am SO impressed with Larry as he didn't seem stiff at all. He seems to be changing. He is calmer and doesn't seem so keen to have a go at anyone that comes near him. Maybe being an only dog suits him. I'm not sure. Which reminds me, I must do "part 2" of his story.

Holkham Hall

The deer park at Holkham

The horses. I should've known she was thinking evil thoughts when she was nibbling my bum!!!

The damage......

Monday, 5 May 2008

Nicholas Monaco

I have heard today that Nicholas has just lost his Welsh Corgi, Skipper from lymphoma. He was only 4 years old. It seems that with this disease, age is no barrier.

My thoughts and prayers are with you Nicholas. I am so sorry to hear your news.

Thank you for your kind words about Yogi.

Monday, 28 April 2008


Well, I have to say that the last week has been superb. Larry was a little star too! The house that we stayed in was a converted mill, very large and secluded. The only sounds were the birds and the cows. At night the sky was peppered with stars (no light pollution there).

Larry had a bit of trouble on the wooden floors so we spent the first couple of days positioning rugs like stepping stones to enable him to get from A to B. He got to grips with it eventually thankfully. But he LOVED the wetroom. Boy did he have some fun in there :o)
As for the weather, we couldn't have asked for better. Most days we were able to walk in t-shirts, eat outside and almost pretend it was summer. One day was drizzly but that's all. Perfect temperature for long walks i.e. not too hot for Larry. That dog has astounded me. I thought that as the week went on we would have to do shorter walks in case he stiffened up, but every day he was up for any walk we wanted. And they were tough walks. Steep gradients and some rough terrain to cover. Larry acted like a sprightly mountain goat! Acutally he put us to shame. My excuse is that I spend too much time sitting on my backside in front of a PC ;o)

The Mill was near Port Isaac, but we spent most of our time further south. We visited Lands End which is sadly now very commercialised. You even have to pay to have a photo taken by the Lands End sign! Sitting in the pub with a telephoto lens worked just as well and didn't cost a penny :o) Once off the beaten track though the coastline was stunning. Most of the walks we did followed the coastline and petered off into the countryside. My favourite walk I think was Prussia cove and Cudden point down in Mounts bay. I could almost see the smugglers dragging their contraband across the rocks into the coves. Quite amazing. We came across a little old lady driving her Toyota soft top down the lanes. She looked well into her 70's and seemed to be having a great time. Hopefully that'll be me in later years!!

We also went to the Seal Santuary down in Gweek. A wonderful day out to see some really worthwhile work AND dogs are welcome! Even a grump like Larry. He wore his muzzle and grumbled like anything at the noise the seals made. Think he enjoyed it really.

Something I have always wanted to do is ride a horse on the beach preferably at a gallop. And I did it...twice! What a feeling....absolutely thrilling!

And of course there was the lunches in beautiful old english pubs. The old cornish cyder was very nice too ;o)

The Mill House

Lizzie, one of the permenant residents at the Seal Sanctuary.

Waiting for feeding time for the seals!

Rocky, the sea-lion. Another permie

Overlooking Bude (I think)

Ray, a braindamaged seal with a thyroid disorder. Seemed a happy chappie despite his problems!

Hurry up with that fish!!!!

Bodicea, who tormented Larry in the underwater observatory by swimming right up to the glass and staring him out!

Taking a break at Lands End

Sitting up here I remember welling up with tears. Thinking and wishing Yogi was with me. Then I realised that had he been here, he would have been attempting to sky-dive off the top! That's when I knew that he WAS there and still making me laugh :o)

Spot the Collie :o)

Dougie the beach horse. Great fun and beautiful too!

.....And so to bed

I hope that he recovers by Friday as we are off to Norfolk!

Friday, 18 April 2008

Holiday time

Knotted hankie at the, where's the beach?

Larry has decided that he needs a holiday. So tomorrow we are packing the car up and going to Cornwall for a week. We have found a beautiful converted mill near Bodmin moor. It has an enclosed garden and is surrounded by an orchard with a spring fed millpool. It really does look the perfect place to relax. It will be very strange going without Yogi but I hope not too sad. This will be the first time in about 12 years that we have been away with just one dog. Not having Yogi will be VERY different. For a start, the journey will be peaceful. Yogi was never a good traveller. I remember one holiday when we went to Wales. Yogi barked for the full 5 hours travelling time :o) Stressful? Yep, you bet it was. Since then we tried a variety of ways to keep him quiet. Hushers, cages, blacking out the car windows and even on occasion, tranquilisers as a last resort! Incidentally, we used to travel with ear plugs :o) The funny thing was that once we had reached our destination, I was loathe to take mine out. I liked the sort of muted sound of everything ;o). Last year I came accross the perfect solution. It was a kennel, enclosed on 3 sides, completely solid and made to measure for the car. It didn't roll about, creak or move. It was cosy and comfortable for both dogs. Yogi couldn't see out and so was quiet (ish) once he settled down. I wish that I had discovered that years ago. It was the best £400 I ever spent.

So, it will be a peaceful journey down to Cornwall. Well, almost. Larry "sings" a bit sometimes, but not too loudly thankfully. But I know I will miss my boy so very much.

I am looking forward to lots of walking, some pub lunches, a few visits to attractions like the seal sanctuary and I understand there is a donkey sanctuary nearby, maybe some riding and most of all.........some peace. It's not too much to ask is it?

C'mon Larry, lets get packing !!! And get that stupid hat off ;o)

Friday, 11 April 2008

Goodbye sweet Cole

Cole lost her fight with lymphoma on Wednesday. My heart is breaking for Teresa, Kevin and Bridget. There is nothing I can say to help just now. Just know that my thoughts are with you all.

I am so very sorry to hear this news.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Thank you Graham, Prince and Tilly too!

It is with a tinge (rather huge actually) of sadness that I read Graham's blog tonight. He has decided not to post so much any more. I completely understand his reasons and I hope that life gets better for him as he moves forward. He has been such an inspiration for me and loads of others as he wrote about Prince, Prince's illness and his new adventures with Tilly. Graham showed me that there was an outlet for the incredible waves of emotion and despair that go hand in hand while living through the hell of lymphoma. He also provided valuable information and support along the way.

Thank you Graham, Prince and Tilly! What a special family you all are. xxx

Monday, 31 March 2008

Moving on?

Handh has just asked where we are moving too. Good question but since I have no idea, I can't really answer. I don't even know if the house will sell with the property market being what it is.

I don't know if it's all the "nasties" that have happened for what seems like such a long time or maybe it's just time for a change.
All I do know though is that without Yogi this house doesn't really seem like "home" any more. Larry is being superb but it still feels like there is something missing.

So, maybe, it's time to stop worrying about stuff and just see what happens.
A delightful estate agent (seems like a contradiction in terms doesn't it?) came round this evening who seemed to think the house will sell easily. But then they all say that don't they?
We shall see.
Perhaps it will be a new adventure?

Sunday, 30 March 2008

British summertime...

Not in Larry's book. He simply WILL NOT lose that extra hour that he believes he is entitled to. This morning, I needed to get up early. A thousand things to do with very little time to fit them all in. Estate agents are coming tomorrow and windows need to be cleaned, the house needs to be put back together after a mamouth round of decorating and in between that a family lunch. Does Larry see the urgency to GET MOVING? No.
Can't blame him. Slumber on Larry, you probably have exactly the right idea ;o)

Friday, 28 March 2008

Larry is back in business!

This week has been a turning point. Larry is back in the land of the living and not just a dog who looks like he is about to give up. Right now he is lying near me as I type away. Cannot quite describe how happy that makes me. It started on Monday when he came up and pinched my sock. Since then he has never looked back. He has had a shower too! He loves to be showered and when he realised it was his turn, he was there! Each morning he has been up to perform "his dance" as well. At first, he would just pop up for the dance and then shoot downstairs again. Now, he is back to hanging about with the humans wherever they may be. What a result. I never realised losing Yogi would have such a devastating effect on him but it just goes to show how important the relationships are that dogs create with each other even if they don't show it like we do. Toys are back on his agenda too. Honky the pheasant has been pretty much redundant over the last month, now he is being shaken with the best of them!
I feel like I have my friend back again.....

Are we on a turning point too? A bit cautious to say the least but this week mum has written her complaint letter to the hospital and is out and about with Fudge and enjoying her "new" car. So she must be feeling more positive. We all clubbed together and bought her a newer car so that she and Fudge could enjoy a bit more comfort as they went about their business. Also, as it is more modern, the steering would be lighter for her following her mastectomy. Less than 2 weekes after the op she is driving again - amazing woman.

I am praying that we can all have a bit of peace and tranquility now.
Fingers crossed....

I have been reading a Angela and Ari's blog and you both seem to be having a tough time at the moment. Just so you know, I am thinking of you both and hoping things get better for you soon.

P.S. How can I be so useless?....I have just burnt spaghetti. Oh well, I'm sure some of it must be edible :o)

Monday, 24 March 2008

Larry has just come upstairs!......and nicked one of my socks.
Everything is going to be OK :o)))

Saturday, 22 March 2008

26 days later....

Well, it's been 26 days since Yogi died. I cannot say that they are getting too much easier for me. Sometimes it's Ok and I can think of him without crying. Sometimes it is just so overwhelmingly painful.

People's reactions can be a bit off too. One "friend" said "oh well, you have another one don't you?" A couple of others have said things like "oh, what a shame, he was the nice one wasn't he?" Last night, one insensitive g!t said that Larry's behavioural issues should be dealt with with a shotgun!!! He was joking but......Rich made a comment along the lines of.. when your child behaves differently, would you shoot it? Wish I could remain so calm. I felt like punching his lights out.

But of course there is the other side of the coin where some people have been lovely and very understanding.

Larry seems to be doing better, he still won't come upstairs though. I so miss him doing the shower dance in the mornings. That is where he would grab the bathmat and fling it against the shower door in time to the water hitting it :o). Yesterday, Rich brought him up on the lead and dance he did. As soon as the water was turned off though, he shot back downstairs. Maybe it will just take some time. He is playing more and I think Fudge being about is helping him. She is going back to Mum's on Monday and I wonder how he will be then....I think it will be another period of adjustment for him.
Since I am "Billy No Mates" this weekend, (Rich is off at some weirdo's convention - well a jazz /rock concert in Wales :o)) I am going to veg out on the sofa with my easter eggs, a glass of wine, my furry friends and settle down to watch Ashes to Ashes. Philip Glenister aka Gene Hunt is my hero just now....

Larry eating the insensitive g!t ......or is it just wishful thinking :o)Anyone for dessert?????

My beautiful baby who we all miss so very much.....

Monday, 17 March 2008

St Patrick's day 1989 - Remembering Monty

Today is St Patrick's day. 19 years ago to the day that I met my very first rescue dog. It is a strange story and once again it makes me believe that dogs choose their owners and not the other way around.
I had been helping out at a local rescue centre for a couple of years, fostering elderly and feral cats. The centre dealt mainly in felines but never turned away a dog in need either. I had a call from a woman who had seen a dog from her window. He had been laying under the lampost for over an hour and she was worried. She had called the dog warden who informed her that he had been chasing after a dog of that description for a few days but had been unable to catch him. By the time she called me, the dog warden I guess was "off duty" and had all but given up the chase. The woman was reluctant to approach the dog as although he didn't seem aggressive, she was nervous. She asked me to come along and see if I could do anything. It was a cold night I remember it so clearly) and armed with a lead, some food and a bit of dutch courage since I didn't have that much experience of dogs, I wandered along to see if I could help. The dog was still laying under the lampost almost as if he was waiting for something. I wasn't sure how to approach him/her so I stood still for a moment and then called. More or less immediately, he got up and wandered towards me. As he approached I let him sniff my hand, he seemed friendly enough, didn't appear to be hurt so I slipped a lead over his neck. He just stood and watched me. The woman seemed relieved and returned to her house. I was left standing like a lemon with a dog that I had no idea what to do with on a freezing cold night! First daft thought was that maybe he was lost, perhaps if I walked around with him he might lead me to his home. We wandered, he sniffed but took me absolutely nowhere. I decided we couldn't keep wandering aimlessly so thought I had better take him home with me. I had a house full of cats and it was late at night. I didn't want to just let him in in case there was carnage. So next best thing for him was to make him a warm bed in the shed. I got a load of coats and blankets and some warm food and settled him in. He seemed remarkably calm and took to being snuggled in the shed really well. I decided to call the police and see if anyone had reported him lost. They hadn't. So a sleepless night was spent a) going to check on him and b) wondering what to do with him. He was a Lab x, quite big and probably about 8 or 9 years old. He was gorgeous....Rich had been working late and met him on one of the forays outside. They bonded instantly and I knew that I was lost. Even better, in the morning I let him out of the shed in the garden, he came straight to the patio doors and just calmly looked in - while the cats stared out at him :o). There was no barking and I suppose because of that, the cats were not nervous. It seemed too good to be true. OK so now we wanted him to stay. We had to wait a month before he could be officially classed as ours. What a nightmare that was. Each day praying that no-one claimed him. No-one did and once the four weeks were over we could relax. He was a superb dog, no major hang-ups, perfect manners and amazing off the lead. We couldn't have wished for an easier induction into canine care.
A few weeks later a neighbour stopped and said that they recognised him. They said his name was Rocky and he belonged to a man who had had him from a pup. The man, who lived locally, had taken on a German Shepherd who had more or less pushed Monty/Rocky out. The weird thing was, that from time to time we saw this man and his new dog, Monty never once looked at him and he never once looked at Monty.
Monty was a superb dog, travelled everywhere, introduced us to many beautiful walks and became a huge part of the family. Even the cats loved him.
He spent 6 very happy years with us, then he suddenly became ill and was diagnosed with liver cancer. It was very quick and very devastating. But boy, did he teach us a lot about dog care.
Since Monty, the dogs have become more challenging but equally lovely in their own right. All of them have had so much to give and so much to teach.
Thank you Monty, you were one very special hound.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

I have an award!!!

I am so pleased! Alison very kindly (and not quite sure why :o)) has nominated me for this. Thank you Alison - you make me smile too. I want to award this to everyone who has supported me in the last few months. Not all of you have blogs of your own but I don't think that matters, you have all been and are fantastic.




Graham Prince and Tilly too!!



Dogga, Thank you for visiting, your blog has made me chuckle loads.

Other news from the front.....

Mum has had her operation today and has responded brilliantly. She is wide awake, not in too much pain and having a laugh. Which is superb. Or should I say a miracle? She may need another op if the cancer had gone to the lymph nodes but we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

Larry is still struggling I think. He used to play all the time with Yogi and considering he is a rather unsociable dog (to put it mildly) that was quite amazing. I think he is missing his buddy more than he cares to admit. He still won't come upstairs which is a real shame. He does seem a little more lively with Fudge here to stay though. I think we all just need time to adjust.

I have had a shock of my own but better now. The day after Yogi died, I found a lump in my breast. Couldn't believe it and must admit I felt rather numb and sort of "I don't really care what happens now". Anyway, I went to the doctors who referred me straight away to the hospital. A miracle in itself as I thought the waiting time was weeks not days. Yesterday I had an appointment with the surgeon who told me they were fine, just cysts. Must admit, I didn't feel that numb when they stuck the needle in!!! All is fine now though, a little smaller in the "upstairs" department. But generally relieved.

Today is the first day I have been able to talk about Yogi without a breakdown. That's a first.

Graham, your advice about wailing, I have been taking it, yes, it does help

I have just visited Teresa's blog, how my heart is going out to you. You are one strong lady but you probably don't feel it right now. My thoughts are with you, Cole and Bridget.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Life without Yogi....

....Is hell. I can't describe it in any other way. He was so full of life and such a massive part of our lives. He has left the most unbelievable open wound.

When we first said goodbye, in a way there was a sense of relief in as much as no more worrying, no more checking, no more wondering when it would happen. Plus the incredible grief that went with it. Now, everything just seems so final. His ashes are back, there is nothing left anymore. In Norfolk it seemed easier somehow. Surrounded by people and other distractions. Larry seemed OK too. Back at home everything just feels so empty. I'm not sure if Larry is depressed. He hasn't ventured upstairs at all and just seems happy to sleep in his basket. He still wants to walk though. It could be his hips are sore (he has arthritis and hip displacia). I have upped his medication but so far it hasn't made any difference. I will give it a little more time and then take him to see John. I am trying to put a brave face on it but really struggling. I need to because I can't afford to sink. Mum is having a mastectomy next week and I have to stay strong. Not doing so well today. I now (in Handh's words) have a soggy keyboard again.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

I wanted to say a huge collective Thank You to all of you for you lovely messages and kindness for us at this time. It reallly does mean so much to both of us. Your support really has been invaluable over the last few months. It has really kept us going when things seemed so black.
Yogi has left a massive gap in our lives and the pain is very raw. But like you have all said, in time he will be remembered with smiles and not sadness. I expect that for you Graham, Lesley and Linda, it will have brought back the awful memories of your losses of Prince and Watson, and for you Handh, it will worry you deeply for Herbie. For that I am so sorry. But I was so touched that you thought to post his picture on your own blogs and mark his passing in such a special way.

We are going to Norfolk for a couple of days to lick our wounds. I don't think it will do any of us including Larry much good to stay in the house just now.

Elizabeth, you are so right, heaven DOES have a new angel. How I wish that angel was here with me.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Journey's end.

This is the most heartbreaking post I have ever had to write. Earlier today we had to say goodbye to Yogi. The glands in his neck swelled so much that they were preventing him from eating. One side of his face was completely hard and disfigured. This happened overnight. I can't describe the pain of making this final decision for him and then seeing it through. But I guess that you just know when the time is right to let him go.

John and Allyson were superb with him (and us) and were there to help him on his way. The last thing he did was kiss our tears away.

He fought it so hard. When I think about how he was when he was first diagnosed, we thought that he wouldn't last the week. But he did fantastically and his courage shone through even when ours was failing. Brave little dog.

Right now I feel as if my heart has been ripped from my body. Words seem so inadequate. All I can say is that I feel I have lost my best friend, companion and yes, my baby.

I know that there are a number of you who read this, that will be heartbroken too. But maybe without all the love, support and good wishes he wouldn't have gone on as long as he did. Thank you.

I believe that he will go on to somewhere better but also in some way still be with us in spirit.

Run free Little Bear, thank you for sharing your life with us.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Fuming with anger !

I have just taken Larry out for his evening stroll and yet again, completely unprovoked he has been attacked by a dog flying out of someone's house while he was on his lead!!! This is the 5th time in just over a year that one of my dogs has been attacked in this way. I cannot believe he absolute stupidity of some people when it comes to dog care. This time fortunately he was not hurt, just very traumatised. The dog is question was a Jack Russell, he managed to grab hold of Larry round the neck and just hang on. The owner came rushing out and pulled the dog off but poor Larry was scared witless. Lots of fur missing but no broken skin thankfully. Last year Larry was very badly mauled by a Dalmatian and I have been bitten trying to protect Yogi. I have had enough. Time to think about moving I feel.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Birthday boys.

Today is a very special day. It's Yogi's 7th un-official birthday (he is probably about 9 years old) and Rich's official xxth birthday. Happy Birthday guys!! 7 years ago today on holiday in Shropshire with Max, we decided to return early (about 6am!) and go and look for a playmate for him. We had recently said goodbye to Spook a very old greyhound x who had been with us for just over a year. His was a very sad story, he was left at the RSPCA when his owner died and the family didn't want him any longer. So at a very old age virtually blind and very deaf the poor thing had to start again. What a character he was too! Fate led us to a rehoming kennel nearby where a very grumpy man told us they were shut and would not open until later. So we just waited.....Eventually they agreed to let us see the dogs. Horrible. I couldn't really go in and look round as it was too distressing. The kennels were miserable, damp, dark and cold. The first kennel on the left was Yogi or Bracken as they called him. Since I really could go no further we asked to take him out. All he had to do (in my book) was to get on with Max. He did if you can judge "getting on" by a five minute walk. So then it was the interview. On learning our circumstances i.e. we were both working, the more amiable woman said that Yogi was completely unsuitable. He was picked up as a stray, they had unsuccessfully rehomed him twice. He couldn't settle with either owner (one was even a vet), he had separation anxiety, chased cats, not housetrained and all sorts of other issues apparently. But as he sat there quietly with his body pressed against my leg I would have begged them to let us take him. Eventually she agreed. In a way, I think she was glad to see the back of him. Strangely, he came complete with tight green harness attached to his body. I wondered about that and then wondered no more when I finally managed to remove it. Obviously once it was on there was no way anyone was going to get it off. I still wonder how they ever got it on! He appeared to have never had a lead on or been for a walk in his entire life. He was like an unguided exocet! His separation anxiety was quite incredible, he would rugby tackle legs if anyone was about to leave and bounce and wee as soon as anyone came back. Relatively easy to cure though. Over the years he has calmed down through patience, expert advice and routine. How I wish people would give dogs a chance before giving up on them.
I am so grateful that he chose to live with us. I believe that dogs choose their owners and not the other way around. He is a wonderful dog with a beautiful nature and the best companion anyone could wish for.
Happy Birthday my Little Bear.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Bittersweet Days

Well, Yogi did get to Norfolk but sadly couldn't stay. We had to bring him home late on Saturday night because he seemed to be uncomfortable and was unable to control his bladder. Ken and Shirley, Rich's Mum and Dad were absolutely FANTASTIC about it and said that it was no problem at all. But we were distressed about it all the same and I would imagine that Yogi picked up on our distress. He is also struggling to poo. He does, but it's a big effort and I think that it is causing him some discomfort. The thing is, on a walk he looks completely normal. Not as much energy as he used to have but he can do 7 or 8 miles and run and play with the best of them. It's just that when he is not walking it is so apparent that he's not at all well. In many ways I wish that it was more clear cut.

Anyway, he is happier at home and the cool tiled floors help him I think.

Today I took him to see John. He has agreed that we should cut down on the steroids as with Yogi getting up every 2 hours he is not getting enough rest. There is a very fine line between the quality and quantity of his life. Now we just need to go for quality. He also examined his tummy which is a bit sore when pressed. This is due to his internal glands pressing on his intestines which in turn make it difficult for him to poo.

BUT he did have a superb day on Saturday by the sea and on Sunday on a walk at home. So here are some pictures. These are on a walk from Holme Next the Sea to Old Hunstanton, a beatiful walk following the beach nearly all the way. Of course, once at Hunstanton there was a brief interlude at the pub....

On Sunday we walked along the Nene way, the weather was superb and the ground was nice and crisp from the frost. Yogi hasn't been swimming since November, there seems no point in curtailing his favourite activities any longer so once again it was fantastic to see him throw himself into the lake after a stick or his pink ball.

Yogi was a little exuberant while jumping up for a stick, he misjudged his leap and this is the result of his teeth connecting with my arm (through 2 fleeces). By the way, he is NOT a biter or harmful in any way. But it does go to show the damage that can be done unintentionally by dogs teeth....I call it a little love bite from a big bear :o)