Dominie in November 2008 not long after she started wearing her harness and before she needed wheels.
Foxy keeping Dominie company. The reflective strips on Dominie's harness are very effective!
Dominie is restricted in her movements. Once she's on all four paws she's able to stagger around but with only her front legs working to maintain her position she is easily knocked off balance. Like all sensible dogs she then gives in and falls gracefully (sometimes not quite so gracefully) to the floor. She is then effectively immobilised until lifted by means of her 'Ruffwear' harness and placed where she indicates she wants to be. She's a very patient animal and only vocalises when she needs something. It may be that she wants to turn round in her bed – she can roll from side to side but can't stand up and change position. Sometimes she wants to go outside to relieve herself or to drink from the pond or simply to wander round the garden sniffing. At other times she wants to drink from the two gallon water container in the kitchen which is refilled each day or else she just wants some attention. She's always been a very affectionate dog but can't bestow affection independently any more. Stroking and talking to her, letting her lick one's feet (a great cure for Athlete's foot (tinea pedis) and extremely relaxing) help her to understand that she is still involved in family life.
This morning she fell over and started to whine. Jenna immediately went to her to try and give her a toy. When Dominie showed that she wasn't interested Jenna started licking her. Every time Dominie told her to stop Jenna politely turned her head aside and then resumed when Dominie was quiet again. By this time Foxy had gone to see what was going on and started trying to groom Dominie, again stopping when Dominie asked her to. It was fascinating to watch the interplay between the elderly Dalmatian and the two young working Labradors. The old lady accepted their attentions but strictly on her terms. They were respectful, quiet and calm, understanding that though she may be frail and sometimes helpless she is nonetheless the elder, the head of the hierarchy.
Once Dominie was settled and relaxed again the two youngsters had a rough and tumble together. Jenna and Foxy letting off steam. Jenna is always in the ascendant even though she's a few months younger than Foxy. Foxy restricts Jenna's 'attack' by grabbing her collar.
Although there's a great deal of noise and some clashing of teeth they are simply playing and there's absolutely no aggression in their play fights. Foxy and Jenna both come from Threevalleys Gundogs in Wales and are bred to work cooperatively. Their breeders, Charlotte and Ali, spend hours with each litter of puppies socialising them. Consequently the pups are very confident and friendly.