A bad day turns good!

My sleep is so out of whack atm and I really can’t work out why!

I have to fight for every bit of sleep as my body constantly tells me I’m awake, I usually sleep for 4 hours, lay in bed refusing to wake up for an hour or so, then manage another few. I’m panicking about it triggering a manic episode, but so far I think I’m okay.

Last night I got six hours of very broken sleep, and I woke up in the MOST foul mood.

I was up for a few hours and had a cluster of half a dozen simple partial seizures, after which I felt exhausted. I went back to bed, slept a few extra hours, and woke up feeling *great*!

Damn it body, why can’t you ever just work? 😛

Feeling good, we walked the other three dogs and then headed out with Mojo to the pub!

Taking Mojo places is such a different experience to taking Sasha to busy places. With Sasha you must hugely plan ahead, be prepared to tell people to back away from her, and always be scouring ahead for things she may be afraid of. With Mojo you don’t have to worry; you get to enjoy him enjoying himself, and if by fluke anything did go wrong, he can be picked up!

He was SUPER at the pub 🙂

Next door are the two aggressive Labs by the play park. Them and the Terrier were barking just after we arrived. We were on the other side of the wall to them, but the barking was still clearly audible. Guess who didn’t react to them AT ALL?! I was so damn impressed!

I managed to fish out my phone and catch some barking on video:

Mojo claimed the beer garden as his own and enjoyed bombing about.

As we ate he sat by me on the bench and, for a young Terrier puppy, showed amazingly good impulse control. He was rewarded every 5-20 seconds.

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He found lots of treasures (an old shoelace, a stick, and some litter!), and he offered a ton of sits! He didn’t have to be on lead once 🙂

Apple crumble!

At some point a group of four adults and a very young toddler (I wouldn’t guess he was even 3 yet) came to the veranda where we were sat. They were loudly telling their kid about the “doggy” he would get to play with, and I was like FUCK THAT…what parent tells their toddler, who they’re letting walk significantly far ahead, to GO GREET AN UNKNOWN DOG?!?

Hell no.

So I scooped Mojo up, and we began gathering our drinks etc to go sit somewhere else, because they were clearly stoopid. The veranda is very small and them being there would have ruined the meal. Thankfully they weren’t eating, they’d climbed up to look at the view and left within a few minutes.

On our way back home we did a little confidence building in the play park. This thing spins! 🙂

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13 weeks old, Mojo review!

Mojo is 13.5 weeks old, and is smashing everything 🙂

Mojo is an AWESOME dog to work with. He’s spunky, confident, intelligent, and very food motivated. Currently we are concentrating on socialisation, focus around distractions, and basic obedience (sit, recall, heel etc).

The one iffy thing we’ve encountered is other dogs; he was very reactive when he came to us, and although this has improved he occasionally lets out a little huff, and on the ground doesn’t want to say hello to other dogs. He’s only met one unknown dog so far, and silently sat on my lap and observed – I was hugely impressed, as he didn’t bark, came to me for safety, and was happy to watch ❤

Raiden reacted the same way at about 3 months, and he grew to be an extremely social adult., so hopefully with training Mojo can head in that direction!

Socialisation

He takes in his stride:

– people, observing and greeting (elderly people, children, teenagers, toddlers, people using crutches, wheelchairs and mobility scooters)

– heavy traffic (being carried and walking by busy roads, including loud lorries going past)

– shops, both going in and sitting outside watching people with trolleys etc

– a variety of surfaces (sand, grass, concrete, metal grates, bark chips etc)

– farm animals (cows, sheep, geese)

Training

Mojo has been SO FUN to train 🙂

He’s so quick to learn, and the fact he is extremely food motivated definitely helps haha. So far he knows sit, down, touch, wait, two (front paws on an object) and his name.

Outdoors his loose lead walking is coming on a treat.

His off lead heel is incredible!

His recall is wonderful, because he’s so young! There’s no better time to concentrate on creating reliable off leash behaviour or recall than when your puppy is young. Get them off lead, and get them running to you 🙂

Finally, his focus rocks!

I’m expecting this to vanish in the next month or two haha, but for now I’m working with it and rewarding it as much as possible.

The other day he did an off lead sit stay whilst a man passed us on a path!! He’s 13 weeks old and he can sit and focus around anybody and anything, it’s amazing!

And he also walked loose lead through a park teaming with two dozen kids! He recalled to me when they ran past him, he offered sits, and focused when asked 🙂

He’d just walked through that path you can see behind us!

Although I don’t think he’s going to be an ‘easy’ or even particularly well behaved dog in the future (he’s at least two vocal breeds – Chihuahua and Yorkshire Terrier -, he’s a rescue with a poor past, AND he was reactive / resource guarded at 10 weeks old!!) I do think he’s going to be an incredible dog 😉

Summer fun & happy pups!

Recently we bought a 6ft pool with some of my partner’s birthday money.

It arrived a few days ago, but the weather’s been kind of meh until today. At the first hint of sunlight we broke the pool out and started filling it with water 🙂

Of course we started it in the wrong place, which threw the whole thing off and meant we couldn’t fill it properly, but it was good enough for us!

Boo was our only water dog, our only pup to venture into the pool and have fun splashing about 🙂

Sasha spent most her time sulking inside (she was not a fan of the paddling pool), but occasionally I managed to get her out and snap some photos with the others!

The boys ❤

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Kasper went into his crate then as we were getting Tolly out, and Kasper’s too much of a whirlwind to manage around TWO teeny dogs! Sasha kept him company lounging on the armchair, sulking XD

Toller wants to play with her big sister so much, she will jump up against Sasha, so far Sasha has shown restraint and knows she needs to be gentle 🙂

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Little uns in the pool!

Wrasslin’ XD

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Following big-but-soon-to-be-little sister 😛

Mojo stood against the side of the pool, it caved in and a deluge of water cascaded all over him…it was so funny, and his bewildered face was even more bewildered than usual!!

He went toddling off all dripping wet and surprised, I was howling with laughter!

I did chase after him, scoop him up, and we had kisses so he felt better 😉

It was a fun day. If it’s warm tomorrow, we’ll be filling that pool up again!

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My take on socialisation

Several times recently I’ve seen others advising that people don’t socialise their puppy “too much”, an example being that a pet shop visit was too much for a 10-12 week old puppy. I even read once that puppies under 5 months shouldn’t be socialised or taken out much.

In my opinion, this is all total and utter bulls**t 😉

Puppies are born as fairly blank slates. Sure, they all have individual temperaments, but for the most part they are confident, neutral about new experiences, and want to make friends with EVERYTHING.

When we used to run puppy classes, I would tell owners that if they had a “nervous” puppy, it was a sign they would need to step up their game and really work hard to show their pup that the world and everything in it is a fun place.

Puppies are supposed to be confident. 

As soon as your puppy comes home, they can begin to be socialised. Because they won’t be fully vaccinated at 8 weeks, there are two options:

1) Concentrate on socialisation in the home; invite guests over, introduce to pets, vacuums, the washing machine, garden, play noises on YouTube etc etc.

(handling and dremel socialisation, some easy ‘at home’ socialisation)

2) Take them outside but carry them everywhere until they are vaccinated. The risk of them catching anything is so, so small, and this way you can socialise them with everything!

We carry puppies about from the day after we bring them home.

At first the walks are very short. This is to not overwhelm them, so we can observe their confidence, and judge how well they can hold their tiny bladders!! (eg. Mojo at 10 weeks could easily hold his bladder for 90-120 minutes, Raiden at the same age could only manage 20 minutes!!)

There is one huge thing you always need to remember when socialising a puppy –

You must take it at their pace!!

With confident puppies, by their second week home we are carrying them everywhere.

They join us on dog walks, which exposes them to roads, people, dogs, birds, cows, sheep, and many more things.

We carry them into town and into pet-friendly shops; this is a great way for them to meet strangers whilst with us (as we know very few people in this area), and also exposes them to busy roads, busy shops, new smells, new lighting etc.

We also sit outside supermarkets with them, which is great as they get to watch people push trolleys, here the clatter, and they have exposure to dozens of people in one sitting.

These are from when Mojo was older, but at his youngest he would just sleep through all this or lie and watch! 🙂

 

If you have an extremely confident puppy (terrier puppies tend to fall into this bracket) you often won’t have anything holding socialisation trips back – pupper will be happy to go anywhere, see anything, and fall asleep in your arms when tired.

Mojo has had dozens and dozens of socialisation trips in the few weeks he has been with us, and until he was old enough to go down on the ground, he mainly slept on them all. I’m talking heaving traffic and air horns on the road RIGHT NEXT TO HIM, and he would sleep through it. When we went into a charity shop he would briefly pop up to see if anyone would fuss him, then it was back to sleeping!!

However, if you have a fearful puppy, you need to socialise them as much as possible BUT at *their* pace.

Read up on calming signals, stressed behaviour, and get to know your little one really well. You need to be aware of the tiniest sign of unease in your puppy. If someone wants to pet them, does your puppy want that to happen? A normal puppy will be desperately squirmy to say hi; an obviously fearful pup may turn away, lick their lips and tremble, but an uninterested puppy is often fearful too.

You can’t socialise a puppy too much, but you can rush a puppy and put it in situations it is not comfortable with.

12 week old Mojo could go literally anyway and be fine; 12 weeks old Sasha was fearful of many things and terrified of strangers, she wouldn’t have done well in a lot of situations!

You NEED to get puppies out into the world and expose them to as much as possible, at the speed that is right for them. The socialisation window for a puppy closes at 14-16 weeks old, and before that happens they need to have been taught that everything they have seen is positive.

After 16 weeks, they start to greet new things with caution, so before they reach that age they need to have enjoyed many, many things.If you teach a young puppy that experiencing new things is exciting and positive, this confidence carries across to experiencing new things as adults.

Raiden was a perfect example of this; he was well socialised and a confident little pup, and as an adult anything he stumbled across he wanted to explore and befriend!

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If you wait until after 5 months to socialise your puppy, you will most likely end up with a very fearful pup. Or it could swing the other way, and you could have a puppy that becomes madly excited about everything because it’s their first time experiencing it!

Imagine locking a child inside a house until they were about 8-10 years old, and not exposing them to anything…

Socialisation isn’t just rushing out and thrusting your puppy into every situation (and I’ve seen that, where well-intentioned owners pass their trembling puppy into strangers’ arms for ‘socialisation’, or drag them on lead to an unknown dog to ‘play’), it’s about exposing your dog to the world and making sure they’re happy with it 🙂

Also, another hard concept for a lot of people to understand, puppies can be trained immediately upon coming home, and most of them REALLY ENJOY IT!! 😉

Training is a great way to bond with a puppy, it teaches them how to learn and use their brain, and there’s no better way to set your pup up for success than to practice training when they’re young and want to work for you!

 

Before & after amputation: week 1

Before amputation, we considered many things to try help Toller, from a wheelchair to the vets’ suggestions.

The vets refused to consider amputation for Tolly’s injury (every connective bone in her paw broken), as they wanted to keep her “whole”.

We were given two options, pushed by two different vets.

  1. Re-wiring surgery

This is an invasive surgery where wires are used to attach her bones back together.

This was pushed by the head vet at the surgery when we went to collect Tolly after her first x-ray. The head vet brought Tolly in, passed her over saying “So you know what she’s done, yes? Broken every bone connecting her toes, silly little girl!” (uhuh, because being run into by a much larger dog running full speed makes HER silly?!?!), “You really must do the rewiring surgery, you’ll need to sort that out as soon as possible.”

That was all the advice given to us when we collected Tolly after her x-ray. We were with this awful for woman for less than two minutes, and later found out they’d charged us a consultation fee (£38 I think) for that!!

I spent quite some time researching this surgery, and everything I read was extremely negative. There was no way of knowing how effective it would be, recovery was a long arduous process, and there was a high chance of complications and further surgeries needed.

Just no.

2. Splints and crate rest

Toller has 6-8 weeks strict crate rest, and her paw is splinted to allow it to heal in the correct position.

This was pushed by the second vet we saw, who told us not to opt for the surgery because she thought Tolly would make a full recovery with crate rest, to the point where she could go on walks, be active, and you ‘wouldn’t even be able to tell’ that paw had ever been injured.

With both vets refusing to even consider amputation, we went with the second vets’ opinion. Unfortunately none of the vets could put a splint on properly; the first fell off in less than 4 hours, the second after a few days, and so the vet said to leave her bare and she would heal just as well.

Fast forward 11 weeks and Toller was absolutely miserable; she’d missed out on almost three months socialisation, training and exercise (5 months – 8 months old), she had been on very strict crate rest (the only time she walked was to go to the toilet), and she was so broken that we honestly wondered whether we should have her put to sleep.

When our vet declared Toller ‘fully recovered’, and where she basically still had to live a life of crate rest AND we could see the foot visibly getting worse, we started looking into other options.

Toller’s leg 5 weeks ago

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Toller’s leg 1.5 weeks ago

When we finally found a vet that would agree to amputate, Toller had the surgery in less than a week, and 24 hours after surgery she was walking. She is far more mobile now than she has been for the last 11 weeks 🙂

And, pictures speak a 1000 words, so here are some before photos.

When you look at her eyes and you see the misery, THAT is why we were considering having her PTS. That is no life for a 5-8 month old puppy to live, and it was *breaking* her.

And the difference. Look at her eyes, look at her smile!

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To anybody who is in a similar situation, here is my advice to you – DON’T GIVE UP.

You may need to see several different vets before you find one that listens. You will find vets that tell you to listen to the first vet, that say they need to ask “permission”…keep trucking, you will find your vet.

Make sure you do your research, so you can spot when a vet is lying or doesn’t have a clue what you’re talking about. Research your pup’s injury, the treatment the vet is recommending, and know your shit when it comes to amputation. The tripawds forum is amazing.

The more you push, the sooner your pup can be on the road to recovery!

Recovery from amputation is insanely speedy (Tolly is off pain meds, her amputation was 8 days ago) and your pup will be so much happier for it 🙂

4 days after amputation: first walk!

Oh guys.

Toller had her first walk today, and it was amazing.

Every action, you could just see the joy. She sniffed EVERYTHING!! She was so intrigued and happy to be out in the world again and walking, it was amazing. She was sniffing, springing, playing, pulling up flowers…it was so darn cute.

She was SO HAPPY. It was truly wonderful to see 🙂

Can you imagine if the first vets had agreed to amputation immediately? She would have been walking less than a week after the accident, as oppose to eleven weeks after 😦 Still, at least it got done, and she’s LOVING IT!!

We were saying today, we’ve not seen her trip once since tripawd life haha!

She got to see our friend today who was over visiting Mojo, and he was *amazed* at how skilled she is walking. Next time he’s over, in about a week, we’ll do a 5 minute walk with her 🙂

Anyway, this is what you’ve all been waiting for – a video of her entire walk!

Tolly the tripawd!

Hey guys we’re absolutely exhausted here so I’m gonna keep it as quick as possible.

Long time no post!

So I don’t remember where we were with Tolly when I last posted, but here’s a recap.

She hurt her paw about 10 weeks ago, when an off lead Labrador sprinted all the way across a field and ran into her, bowling her over (she was a tiny 3.2kg at the time – 3.5kg now, little fatty 😉 ).

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We got her to the vet who said she suspected a broken toe at worst and wasn’t even going to x-ray, but we said we might as well to be on the safe side. After the x-ray it turned out Tolly had broken FOUR bones in her front left paw, all the bones connecting her toes to her foot.

We were immediately pushed towards an option of an invasive surgery to rewire her bones. When I researched this (reading articles, others’ experience, and posting on a forum for amputated pets as I immediately wanted to amputate) I found there were HUGE flaws with this option, including an extremely high likelihood of further procedures (I’m talking 98%+!), complications to do with recovery, and the fact it was a very invasive procedure.

A few days after her accident we saw a second vet, who was much more positive. Amputation, which we still wanted to consider, was poo-poo’ed as a full recovery was so certain, even though a full recovery from amputation is only 4 weeks. This vet advised us not to put Toller through the surgery, and said her foot would recover perfectly fine on it’s own, and we most likely wouldn’t even be able to tell she had been injured. So we signed ourselves up for 6-8 weeks crate rest.

Toller had two splints put on in the first week or so; one fell off after four hours, one fell off after a few days, and after that the vets advised we leave her as is.

For eight weeks Toller was confined to her crate or held in our arms, the only activity she got was from there or trips to the garden strictly to go to the toilet. With each vet visit the vet complimented her recovery, saying she was doing so much better than they expected.

Toller was ABSOLUTELY MISERABLE, and nothing held her attention (not even knuckle bones), and whilst we were very concerned about the after-effects of such extended crate rest on a very young puppy, we pushed ahead because it wasn’t long to the finish line.

Around the 6 week mark we began to notice that that front left foot was very bent out of place and odd looking, but pushed it aside as the vet was so certain she was making a miraculous recovery. At 7 weeks we were advised it was ligament damage and posed no concern.

At around 8 weeks we were told Toller was fully recovered, and we were horrified.

The story had now changed to she would have hugely restricted exercise for the rest of her life, she couldn’t run, go on walks, and her foot was scarily deformed. It stuck out at a literal right angle.

KIND OF GRAPHIC PHOTOS OF DEFORMED FOOT  below

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Over the next week we followed the vet’s instructions, letting her walk in the house for 30 seconds at a time, just a time or two a day. We were horrified to see that foot getting worse.

At this point we thought we were going to get a wheelchair; that way Toller could go on walks in the chair, with the injured leg strapped out the way, and walk chair-free in the house as per the vet’s instructions. We bought a cheap £70 front wheeled cart whilst we saved the £580 for a custom one.

It soon became clear that wasn’t an option; Toller’s foot was so badly injured (and not at all recovered!!) that even small amounts of exercise were making it much worse.

We began looking for a second opinion and madly scrabbling for money for an amputation, which we had wanted to do right at the bloody start.

Unfortunately a lot of vets were less than helpful, with one surgery refusing to see her and telling us to use the first surgery (that had been totally wrong about her prognosis!), and another saying they would have to “ask permission” from the previous vet.

We finally found a branch that would happily give us a second opinion; they sent off for her info and we took Tolly to an appt with them. They agreed in an instant that an amputation was the way to go.

Today was her operation day. Photos from this morning just before she headed out.

preop

Eeesh, that poor foot!!

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We dropped her off, and phoned at lunch time for an update – oh, before I carry on, the vets wrote down THE WRONG LEG TO AMPUTATE!! Can you believe it?!?! Luckily the nurse checked with my partner first, although she did say they’d have questioned it anyway given how deformed her left leg was hahaha!

Lunchtime update ~ we were told she’d been a star up until time for her op, and enjoyed lots of cuddles! She’d been in theatre for 60 minutes and was just coming around now and doing really well. They wanted to keep her overnight, and would call before they closed that evening to update us again.

We were SO relieved 🙂

We didn’t hear from them when they closed, so we called them on the dot, and unfortunately the first person who spoke with us was useless – she said “Yes, Toller’s fine, she’s just staying overnight with us” and then hung up the phone!!!!

But we called straight back and managed to speak with somebody else and they were brilliant 🙂 They said Toller has had cuddles off every nurse that works at the surgery, and when they go into her room she gets excited and wags at them!

She’s eaten a meal and even had some test walks to start getting her used to life on three legs – she’s doing great, the only thing she struggles with is doorways and they have to carry her through those haha!

They’ve carried out a pain score on her (where they tally up how much pain a dog is in based on behaviour, body language etc to judge if they need more pain meds) and they basically couldn’t tell she was in any pain at all as she was just trying to love on them so hard!! This so typically Toller hahaha, completely loving and adorable, and such a tough little cookie 🙂 ❤

So she’s staying overnight, will be checked on every 3 hours, have further test walks and pain scores, and we go pick her up in the morning. We can phone as soon as they open and see what time they’d like for her to go home at.

To say I was relieved with how the day has gone is obviously a huge understatement, and the last nurse we spoke with described my little spitfire so perfectly I was crying listening to what my Spud had been up to!!

Obviously I’m really nervous about bringing her home (Will I be okay at the sight of her stump, because it won’t be bandaged at all? Will I feel suddenly sad about it? Will she be in pain? Will she try do too much now that broken leg has gone? Will she be especially vocal or miserable? What if it gets infected? etc etc etc) but mostly I just really can’t wait to see her and want to cuddle her forever.

It’s been absolute hell since she got injured…from being terrified she was badly injured, to struggling to keep a 5-8 month old puppy in anyway happy with strict crate rest, to freaking about amputation (risk, lack of knowledge, price, finding a willing vet etc), to getting it done and now the road to actual recovery…

I’m hugely excited for her, because she’s FINALLY gonna have her life back, but I’m understandably scared too. For the physical side and the mental side – she’s missed so much socialisation and was miserable for so long there’s no saying what kind of adult dog she will be, and this is a major concern and NOT something to be brushed off lightly.

I’m concerned about fears (from other dogs and animals to cars going past, loud noises etc) and anxious behaviours, and of course the physical side too – being a tripawd obvious puts more strain on the other limbs, although thankfully her small size should mean this isn’t as big an issue.

But the main thing is her life will be so much better. We just have to take the journey one literal step at a time!

And that’s my update. Now, bed awaits…