The best of best days

Yesterday my parents came up for another visit, as the hand washer they ordered for my partner’s birthday had finally arrived (unbeknownst to us it was shipping from America!!).

Before they arrived, we decided to tire everybody out by a morning in the pool…as usual it was A LOT of fun ๐Ÿ˜€

Kasper had immense fun bobbing for kibble ๐Ÿ˜›

Toller enjoyed basking on her own private island ๐Ÿ˜‰

And Mojo fell in the water and was miserable XD

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Toller soon helped him dry off chasing him about and wrestling with him though (also look how amazing Sasha is as the little uns play ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Lots of happy tired pups!

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Look, size order!! Only missing Spud, but we don’t have Kasper out around her as he WILL knock her over!

Once my parents arrived we went to meet them, and just as last time Sasha was super confident with them. Yay, progress!

We walked through the fields to a local pub, and sat in the beer garden. It was such a beautiful space and we had it all to ourselves! Sasha was mostly on a longline, although we did go for a mooch and do some training off lead, but she was amazingly well behaved.

Off lead!

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Just as our food had been brought two extremely aggressive Labradors began barking at us, from behind a low wall but down a large drop. My dad went and loudly exclaimed what horrible dogs they were, making them bark more, and guess what?

SASHA DIDN’T MIND AT ALL!!

Other than her unease with people, barking dogs has been her biggest fear. Even way off in the distance, a barely audible dog barking would make her skitterish and fearful. These dogs were less than 6 feet away, and Sasha sat there grinning at me, happy to do training and totally at ease ๐Ÿ˜€

On the walk back we bumped into the Leonberger puppy that we saw over a month back.

At 16 weeks old this dog reached Sasha’s shoulders, now 22 weeks he towers above her!! Sasha was overwhelmed at first with this GIANT over-the-top puppy bouncing in her face, but I thought she could adjust. I left her to it and sure enough a minute later she was charging about and had made a new BFF, it was so sweet ๐Ÿ™‚

Their play style was hilarious, Sasha would literally run laps around us all, then dart to the Leonberger so that he could feel included XD

He was very big and clumsy and calm, and the few times he accidentally knocked into me almost had me off my feet hahahaha!

Once we’d walked back we dropped Sasha off at home, then went for a trip out to the zoo!!

I haven’t really been anywhere other than local pet shops and on dog walks for about a year, so to have a proper day out including a meal and a zoo trip was just phenomenal!!

There was a stretch of rooms at the zoo that had glittery floors that seemed to flash as you walks, which triggered a seizure, but I bounced back quickly and the entire day yesterday I only had FOUR seizures…honestly don’t remember the last time I had so few ๐Ÿ˜€

Zoo pics…this place is so weird because some of the enclosures are awesome, such as the harvest mice, degus and fossa (the fossa has a second part of equal size connected via a shed)

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But then the chinchilla cage was AWFUL, and the spiny mouse cage was a little bare too, it used to have a load more branches but now they’re all very low and there’s just a few :/

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Meerkats

Striped squirrels (which just looked like chipmunks to me?!)

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And what wild creature is this?!? XD โค

After the zoo we came back home, I took Mojo out for a quick hello, then my mum and partner headed to the supermarket to do some shopping (I can’t go in supermarkets due to the lighting), and me and my dad took Sasha to the nearby field. She was already pooped so we just sat about ๐Ÿ™‚

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Once we all met up again there was time to take Tolly for her biggest off lead walk yet, and then it was back home to rest before bed! ๐Ÿ™‚

(her ears still don’t know what they’re doing!! โค )

Look at this photo my dad took – he says she looks too cute to be real!!

It was truly a fantastic day, made even better by so few seizures ^__^

1.5 weeks after amputation: first off lead walk!

Toller had her first off lead walk inย 3 months today!! ๐Ÿ˜€

It was amazing!!

She had SO MUCH FUN ๐Ÿ™‚ โค

On top of her pure joy, her recall was perfect, she didn’t stray far, she checked in and sat voluntarily…it was all just amazing!

She did 2 minutes walking on lead, and 2 minutes off lead. We’re still building it up very gradually, but she’s doing great ๐Ÿ™‚

I can’t wait until she’s fully recovered so that we can use the Ruffwear Webmaster on her. It’s supposed to be the best harness for tripawds, and a harness would make things much easier as atm she’s so excited that she pulls on a collar and a few times her front leg has skittered out and she’s face planted!!!

Lead work can wait until she’s got a few more walks under her belt though, I can’t blame her AT ALL for being excited ๐Ÿ™‚

How gorgeous and amazing is this little one? โค

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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.ย 

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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 themย as much as possible BUTย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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!

 

Yay Tolly! And a day out

Toller had her first check up since surgery today, and it sounds like it went really well!

(I can’t go to appts due to the lights at the vet, but my bf called me right after)

Apparently when they were waiting, three nurses were walking through the waiting room and said “Oh hi Tolly!!” when they saw her, and came over to love on her. How sweet is that? ๐Ÿ™‚

They were seen by our favourite vet, and she said Toller is doing GREAT! There’s a slight rash by the stitches, most likely from rubbing on the top, which is normal and already clearing up. There’s some bruising from the op, which is also obviously completely normal.

The vet has cleared Toller to do 2 minute on lead walks 1-2x a day (aaaagh excited!!) and has said she can walk a little more in the house. Yay!

They’ve said we can stop her pain meds on Wed-Thurs, which seems CRAZY, but every pain score they’ve done (even immediately after surgery) she hasn’t reacted to at all.

And yesterday my parents came up.

We had a great day. Sasha was SUPER confident around them, for literally the firs time ever – it was awesome to see. She went up to them, sat for them, it was really cool – she looked like a normal dog haha.

We went on a huge hike. I think we were out 3-4 hours, but we did have several rest stops so my dad could fly his drone, and for the first 30+ minutes I was very seizurey and had to sit down a lot. The rest of the walk was lovely though, we all had a really nice time ๐Ÿ™‚

Sasha’s training for the most part was wonderful; she was very excited and distracted walking through the field of sheep (but I was way off my A game too because that’s when I was most poorly), and she was too excited to do much training, but she was happy and confident with everyone which was much more important. She met loads of doggy friends, including two Border Collies which she enjoyed bounding around!!

Pics ๐Ÿ™‚

But look how frickin’ huge she is XD

My dad took some lovely photos. Love this one of me and Mojie ๐Ÿ™‚

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My partner and Mojie!

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Sasha smiling!

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Sharing snacks hahaha

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We had several rest stops on top of the mountain so my dad could fly his drone. Really good socialisation for the pups! And the photos are stunning – look at this view!!

Look at Sasha XD

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Coming down the other side of the mountain

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Once back from the walk we dropped the pups off, my parents said hello to Spud, then we drove to get takeaway pizza and eat it on the beach. Talk about best meal ever ๐Ÿ˜‰

I found some hella impressive quicksand. This all looked like normal sand when I first walked across it, it scared the crap outta me!!

Birthday cake on the beach ๐Ÿ™‚ (it’s not his birthday until tomorrow, but we celebrated it about 4 days ago and then he celebrated it with my parents yesterday haha!)

Sunset ๐Ÿ™‚

So it was a really enjoyable day. We also got a nice leaving of Sasha, she was left for 2 hours and did wonderful ^_^

Oooh, quickly, I also finally got to give my mum her mother’s day ‘gifts’!! Mother’s Day was in March, but they hadn’t been up since, so I’ve been adding to the gift every week or two hahaha…I started needle felting a few months ago, and may have made my mum a Barbapapa family HAHAHA!

Tolly’s getting a wheelchair

So I’ve been crying non-stop these past few days. I’m hugely pissed at the vets, my heart is broken for Toller, and I knew that after the costs of her treatment thus far, we couldn’t afford ยฃ1500-2500 to amputate her leg.

So it was time to think up an alternative to improve her life.

And we discovered doggy wheelchairs!

For now we have ordered an extremely basic, standard (eg. not custom fit) front-wheeled cart that cost ยฃ70, and looks like this:

We’ll be trying that out whilst we wait to sort something for a custom cart. It’s due to arrive early next month.

Custom wheelchairs are incredibly expensive. We’re looking at ยฃ300-400 once we factor in custom builds and postage, especially as the one I keep getting directed to is based in America! If anyone wants to share or donate to Toller’s Go Fund Me, please do ๐Ÿ™‚

Help get Tolly walking and wheeling

Why a wheelchair?

So basically where the vet has left us now, according to them, Tolly is fully healed. They don’t even want to see her again unless “we’re concerned”…uh yeah, after seeing her walk yesterday I’m fucking concerned!!!!!

What happened to her making a full recovery and the injury not even being visible?! What happened to her being able to go on walks like a normal dog?? Now you’re saying that’s not going to happen?!

At this point Spud has enduredย eight weeks of crate rest, and guys that is just bullshit ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

She’s a completely different dog to before the accident; she’s miserable, she gets enjoyment from so little, and she’s anxious. It’s BULLSHIT. I’m so annoyed because Iย wanted to amputate that leg, but the vets persuaded me not to, they said it’d be fine…and it’s not.

With a wheelchair, she will be able to BE A DOG. She can run and exploreย immediately, no rehab, no worries about making her leg worse…the misery of crate rest will be over, and it’ll be SUCH an improvement on the vets proposed life of carrying and such limited walking.

I know she could have been happy as a tripawd, but with a wheelchair she can be a dog RIGHT NOW. No more rest, no more procedures. So that’s the way we’re going.

I’m exhausted and so stressed by all this, but I feel like we might have found a way to make my baby girl happy. Fingers crossed…

A day of tears

Yesterday was…fun -_-

It was the hardest day of this year so far, easy. Shitty things have been happening anyway and my mh has taken a dive this past week, but more than that was seeing Tolly walk for the first time.

I hadn’t seen her walk since before the accident, and all I’d been told was she was doing ‘great’. I saw her walk inside yesterday and her foot just looks AWFUL.

It’s twisted facing completely the wrong direction, the leg’s at a weird angle…it’s just heartbreaking and I immediately burst into tears. I was crying pretty much non-stop for the rest of the day, I’m talking huge floods of tears and just feeling hopeless.

I literally can’t be around Toller when she’s walking, I get hugely upset and then she gets upset. I need a few days to recover justย being with her, because when I see her atm it makes me teary because I remember her foot and think of how she was before and I just cry and cry and cry.

The guilt is tearing me up and then I feel like shit because when I start getting sad she just looks so confused, poor little love.

I have a lovely little ‘feel like shit’ list atm.

  • Toller’s foot
  • Overwhelming guilt for my bf (this started due to the things I say when I’m seizurey, but spred to pretty much everything – it’s at the point now where when we’re cuddling and happy together, I get tearful, guilty and sad)
  • Feeling like / stressing that I don’t want to be with my bf and our relationship has run it’s course (due to overwhelming guilt and seizure rage)
  • Seizures and everything they bring; stress, tiredness, feeling physically illย etc
  • HUGE health fears that reduce me to tearsย on a daily basis
  • Depressive episode (thus making above points feel even worse) – thanks for choosing now to raise your ugly head, bipolar

This week has been rough in general, but yesterday took the cake.

-sigh- Oh well, here are some photos of little Puddy one enjoying seconds of her dinner yesterday.

Tolly update, crate rest is over!

Keeping it short because I’ve been horribly ill from the moment I got up today.

Toller finally had her vet appt this afternoon and we got the best news ever, crate rest is over!

The vet said that Toller has recovered faster than any of them could have anticipated, and even from her vet appt a few weeks ago Toller has made more progress than expected. The vet said that Toller can now be put on the ground in the house for several minute bursts, then held for a while, and put down again.

Obviously she’s not to run madly or jump on and off furniture, but this will be huge for her ๐Ÿ™‚

It goes without saying we are very happy. Can’t wait until I’m well enough to play and interact with her on the floor.

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Oh and here is a cute video from yesterday, I think…we discovered she loves the spray bottle!!