Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Old dogs

I've just got back from a walk with three of the dogs. I was going to take only the younger two but Buddy Liver Spots was insistent that he was coming with us today and I couldn't refuse him. Actually, I couldn't get out of the house as he was blocking my way. It's not his fault that he can't see or hear very well these days – the after-effects, I'm sure, of the meningitis that so nearly killed him eighteen months ago.

I don't know how much he can see – I suspect it's just vague shapes and movement – so if he becomes very involved in something completely fascinating he's not aware of the path we're taking and is likely to trot in the opposite direction to us once whatever it is has been thoroughly investigated. Sometimes he attaches himself to strangers who usually find this quite charming and are most sympathetic when we explain the reason. If there aren't any people about Buddy will set off purposefully and at speed on the route he thinks we've taken. I managed not to lose him today though he did start wandering the wrong way - I sent Jenna-the-Labrador after him and he turned round and followed her back to me.

He really enjoyed his outing and is slumbering peacefully.

Now, Buddy is thirteen and Dominie is fifteen. Dominie is very alert and sees and hears better than Buddy but her hind legs are weak after a nasty attack of discospondylitis last October. Although she is always very keen to come out with all the dogs her body lets her down. She wears a special harness with a handle on the top so that we can lift her when she falls or support her when she's stumbling. Taking Dominie out means that we have a gentle amble. Jenna-the-Labrador gets plenty of exercise chasing the ball – and the occasional deer – but it's not really sufficient for Frodo the Faller who's only seven and could pace along all day so that's why I opt to take just the two and occasionally the three on an extended brisk outing. And if you're wondering, yes, I do feel really mean when I leave any of them behind, for whatever reason.

However – and they don't know this – after they've had their supper of raw liver and chicken we're going to take them all out for a little stroll and we'll all feel better for it.


It's now 8:30 p.m. and all the dogs are sound asleep and dreaming.

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