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Wednesday, 30 November 2022

What happened next?

What happened next?

 Jellicoe, looking down from on high
 At the beginning of March 2022, I found Jellicoe straining to urinate in unusual places, like the coal scuttle. This had happened once before three years previously, so we knew he had a urinary tract infection. It cleared up with treatment but at the end of the month he had a urine test and was discovered to have diabetes. This required him to have twice daily insulin injections and regular checks of his glucose levels. 

 Lord of all he surveys

All proceeded smoothly for a few months until July, when Jellicoe started vomiting and lost interest in food. It transpired that he was severely dehydrated and constipated and had developed diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) DKA is a very serious condition and occurs when the body lacks enough insulin to release sugar into the cells for energy. In that case, the liver breaks down fat for fuel, producing acids called ketones in the process. Jellicoe was put on a drip and hospitalised for six days and his insulin dosage was adjusted. He came home, but after four days he had to go back to hospital for three days.  

The assistant

At the end of July he was referred to a specialist practice, where he stayed for six days. His insulin was changed and all proceeded smoothly until the middle of October, when he stopped eating.  

People?
Again, Jellicoe was very dehydrated and had to be put on a drip. He stayed in hospital for six days. His insulin was changed for the third time and we agreed a new regime with the vets. Feline diabetes can be very challenging to treat and we were told that Jellicoe’s case was particularly difficult. We have learnt a lot and I think the vets may have added to their knowledge, as well. In addition to insulin injections twice daily, he is fed four times a day. He has now been home with us for a month and every day is a bonus, because we thought he was a goner so many times.
Talk to me
Clearly, he is feeling very much better, because he is batting his brother (who is one third bigger and heavier than him) and charging round the house every evening, like a soul possessed.
Our vets have given him a 'Braveheart Award' - I think he's earned it!

Then what happened?

What happened?


 

What happened?

When people ask what we’ve been doing, I always say, ‘Nothing’, or ‘Not much’, because what has been happening in our lives may seem inconsequential, compared to what other folk have been up to. Time passes and it’s not filled with exciting trips abroad or fabulous meals in smart restaurants or trips to the theatre. Nonetheless, our time is fully occupied.

Our oldest grandson was married in August 2021. It was a beautiful day with perfect weather and it was so good to meet all our family after such long times apart.  Our grandson and his wife are expecting their first child, a daughter, in March next year.

In March 2021, Ariella was born to our second granddaughter and in August 2022 her parents were married before their son was born in October. We were unable to attend as by then it was impossible to leave Gus because he fretted so much if he was left alone, despite having canine and feline company. He needed his own humans – no-one else would do. 

In 2021, we had a dog-sitter to look after the dogs (and cats) but a year later Gus was thoroughly dependent on us. He missed his sister, as Jenna had died in November 2021, at the grand age of 16, quite remarkable for a Labrador.

Jenna and Gus when young

 Jenna in old age

In April 2022, Bertie required extensive dental surgery and jaw reconstruction. He recovered well, but by May, a month or so after his operation, he began to be fussy about his food. Bertie was unusual, in that he was never greatly interested in food, and Labradors are renowned dustbins. Nevertheless, he had always eaten whatever was placed in front of him, but quite suddenly he turned his nose up at his rations. Veterinary investigations showed that he was very ill and not likely to linger long. He still looked the handsome dog he had always been, was keen to go out for walks, remained the perfect gentleman he had been since puppyhood, but he was losing condition rapidly, despite regular B12 vitamin injections and appetite stimulants. We could have stocked a pet food shop with the different brands of dog and cat food we bought to try and encourage him to eat. We bought two or three chickens a week and cooked them in the pressure cooker.

 
Bertie in his prime

Most things worked for a while but eventually he was eating only minute portions and plain yoghourt. Our beautiful boy was fading away and we braced ourselves for his departure and then, shockingly, in August, Gus died. 

Gus 
Gus was a big, strong dog, with the heart of a lion and the gentle temperament of a capybara, always inclined to avoid trouble. He had the sweetest smile and the most beautifully shaped front paws. He had developed arthritis in recent years, which was being well managed, and always enjoyed his walks. One night, he was crying and I had to get up to him several times, to soothe and comfort him. (Our dogs have always slept upstairs with us, often on the bed.)The next morning, after he had taken the morning air, he was suddenly unable to stand and I could see the pain and fear in his eyes. That was his last day with us. He was nearly thirteen.

Those of you who have read earlier posts may recall that we called him Augustus Lazarus Cooke, because as a newborn pup he had to be encouraged to breathe. Just at the point his breeder was about to abandon her efforts, he took a breath and never looked back. He remained very puppy-like in his ways.

We had expected Bertie to be the first to leave but he clung on until one day he was no longer coming to lay his head on my lap to have his ears stroked and was not interested in going for a walk. So that day, in October, Bertie departed this life. He was eleven.

Roxy with Bertie
Now, abruptly, we were reduced to one dog. Roxy is seven years old and has never known life without another dog.


It is clear that she is missing her companions and although she enjoys the company of our daughter’s working cocker spaniel, Arthur is not a Labrador, and more importantly, he doesn’t live with us.
Arthur 
Roxy and Arthur with Barry

Every time she goes out she gravitates towards other Labradors. There’s only one remedy . . .  

What happened next?

‘Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really.’ Agnes Sligh Turnbull.


Tuesday, 29 November 2022

Just looking

Just looking . . .

Just looking to see if my blog is still in existence.

I was shocked to see that I had not posted anything since May 2020. Covid lockdowns have played havoc with ‘normal’ life and it has been difficult to cast aside the disciplines of caution.

Having congratulated myself on avoiding Covid, it was proved to me once again that pride comes before a fall, and out of nowhere, or so it seemed, I contracted it in September. It wasn’t awful. I just felt generally unwell and thought my recovery would be as swift as it normally is when I am – rarely – ill. Pride again took a header and left me with egg on my face and inexplicable weariness, which would strike out of the blue (how many more clich├ęs can I squeeze into this post?)

Now, after weeks of doing nothing, I am almost back to normal, or, at least, as normal as ever I was. It’s good to be back. This time, I will endeavour to visit my blog more regularly, and catch up with the blogs of others.