Friday, February 25, 2011

The trials and tribulations of a canine athlete...

One of the biggest fears of every athlete before a competition is injury. Jamie (and his owner) hope to improve his performance during this winter's beagling season. Known as the "Beagle Hunt", a pack of beagles chase scent trails laid out across rough terrain and through the bush. The sooner a beagle crosses the finish line, the higher the number of points he gains. It is very prestigious to be crowned one of the top ten at the end of the season.

But Jamie has been dealt a blow just one month before the season starts. It all started when he stubbed his toe. The injury seemed innocuous enough as he stopped limping after a few days. But he kept re-injuring his toe which would then bleed. I thought that he had broken his toe nail above the quick and was repeatedly bashing it.
I became concerned that the troublesome toe nail would become a real problem once Jamie started hunting because the terrain is very rough and tough on the paws.

So yesterday I took Jamie to the vet thinking that the problem would be easily resolved. My heart dropped when the vet said he needed an x-ray.
The news was not good. A bone had chipped leaving a fleck of bone embedded in his flesh that had to be removed by surgery under a full anesthetic. They also needed to diagnose if there was any infection of the bone or even a carcinoma. It was also highly likely Jamie would lose his nail.

Jamie innocently drove with me to the vet this morning unaware of what lay ahead of him. We arrived at 7.30am. I took him to the sick room where there were several sad looking dogs in post-op recovery, some on drips and monitors. Jamie did not want to stay in his cage where I had to leave him. When I heard that his operation might only be at 12.00pm, I so wished that I had brought his familiar blanket for comfort during the long wait.

So at the moment I am beset by feelings of anxiety.
Jamie is only 2 years old and this is the second time he will have to undergo a full anesthetic ( the first when he was neutered).
What will be the prognosis? After surgery how am I going to ensure that his paw remains clean, dressed and that he doesn't do something stupid that undermines healing? And oh dear, the cost... the cost?
I only hope that this is not going to stop him hunting because he loves it so much!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Still alive and kicking!

Hi there !
In case you thought Jamie, Jemma and I had disappeared from the planet - we are still here in the physical sense. We did zone out mentally during January, 2011.
But we have now come back to earth with a bump (ouch!).

Jamie and Jemma had a wonderful holiday, got fit, lost weight and are looking sleek and healthy.
Now that they are back in the Big Smoke they are giving me hurt looks. It feels like being back in "prison" after a holiday of unfettered freedom.

I am trying very hard to keep them fit, not overfeed them and psyche myself up for the new Beagle "Hunting" Season which starts in April. They are going to have to remember how to hunt mackerel again.

In the mean time we have Beagle "conventions" once a month at Walkhaven. The idea is to keep the dogs involved in the "hunt" well socialised so that they form a cohesive group once we start the season. It's been fun and we are looking forward to meeting all their mates at the February meet.

In the meantime I am still spending my weekends getting my practical qualification to be an instructor. Hats off to everyone who works in the dog behaviour/instructor business. The really good people have incredible knowledge, skill and experience. They can make a dramatic difference to you and your dog's relationship.
Help is out there if you need it!