Diary

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December  

Thu 27th

Christmas has been and gone. I really enjoyed it, especially as I was allowed to open a present or two every day for about a week. I like the presents, but I really enjoyed ripping open the packaging.

The big freeze has been replaced by rain and gale force winds. We only went on a short local walk yesterday. Dad didn't risk taking the bike out. But after a hairy night, the wind died back a bit today so it was back to 2 wheels and four paws today as we headed back to the Leanachan forest below Aonach Mor and Ben Nevis. We lengthened the run to about 7 miles today. I felt tired, but not unduly. We've dropped the preds back to 25 mg every other day after speaking with auntie Julia. I'm due for another blood test next Thursday, so I guess we keep paws and everything else crossed till then.

 

Thu 20th

Yesterday was quite a day. We set out in the van on the Oban road. I got really excited I thought we might be heading for the ferry to Tiree.  My excitement verged on hysteria. Then we got to Oban and I discovered it was another visit to another vet and another blood test. On the positive side my pcv is back up to 40 again. But the vet suggested keeping to the same dosage  of preds because the surgery is due to be shut over the Christmas/New Year period. That means no more tests for a fortnight. If  my condition is stable then, we should be able to go back to a pill every second day.

We were going to go for a run up the hill when we got back, but then dad discovered he had left his attaché case at the vets. So it was back to Oban again. I got a bit worried then, but I didn't have to get out of the van. By the time we got back to the cottage it was getting dark, so no run.

Today more than made up for it though. It was back to the Nevis range and another of our runs on the mountain bike trails. 6 miles and we averaged over 7 mph - that's faster than we have been doing on Coopers Hill back down south.

Still no snow, but it has been cold. Down to minus 10 at night and staying below freezing all day. The hoar frost makes everything look very Christmassy.

Sun 16th

Its been quite an eventful ten days. Went for a final pre-holiday check-up last Wednesday, full of optimism. After all, my health had been consistently improving and the dosage of preds had been reduced at each visit to the vet. This time there was a hick-up and my pcv was down to 36. So the advice was to up the dose  to 25 mg a day  for a week, before dropping back to 25mg every second day just before seeing the vet in Fort William at the end of the week.

That was the downside. I still felt fine in myself. The van was slowly loaded with Christmas stuff and on Thursday we took the road north. I wasn't too sure exactly where we were going at first, but reckoned it would be good. Stopping off at the motorway services in Cumbria was promising. That always bodes well. As we crossed the Erskin bridge outside Glasgow and the smells of the Highlands wafted in through the air vents, my interest was well and truly aroused. As we drove through Glencoe, there was no way I was going to lie down. When we got to Onich and started to come up to the turn-off to Bunree - well I just had to give voice to my excitement.

The first day was spent putting up the Christmas trees - inside and out.  But not before going on Wades Road walk up behind Inchree. It's less than 4 miles, but it does involve a 650 foot climb. I actually felt not too bad after it. Yesterday we went to  the Leannachan forest in the Nevis ranges. Dad says it is great mountain biking country. I think it is great dog walking country. We did just under 5 miles, again with a fair bit of "up". And once again felt pretty good after it. Did the same thing again this time, but upped the distance to just short of 6 miles. If anything, I felt less knackered than yesterday.  Let's hope that this is an optimistic sign.

Bunree is just as I remember it - well, pretty well. There's Tay who lives next door. I think he looks up to me. He comes round to the patio door several times a day  to call me out so we can have a pee together.

There's also something called a Humphrey! Apparently he's a boxer. He's only 3 months old. Dad couldn't get a picture of him because he doesn't stay still long enough. For some reason, like other pups I've known, he has an irresistible urge to jump on my head. Had to put him in his place a bit. He'll learn.

Thu 6th

Off to the vet yesterday. Saw Auntie Linda again. First time for some weeks. She seemed pleased to see me and was quite impressed at the progress I'm making. Pcv back up to 40, so I guess they were right about there not being any significance in the drop last week AND that's with a lower dosage of preds. Linda reckons that come the weekend we can drop it to one tab every other day. And here comes the rub. I was quite right about dad using the reduction in medication to cut out my supper.   Bastard!   Does this mean that I will only get breakfast every other day from the end of this week? It wouldn't surprise me. I'll just have to get even more insistent than I have been.

Still keeping up with the exercise routine. I must admit that I don't seem to have the energy I did last Christmas. Though thinking back on it, I was pretty washed out some days on Tiree this summer. This condition could have been coming on for longer than we realised. Linda says that the steroids are likely to to produce muscle wastage as well as a lack of energy. The sooner we can cut the dosage the better in that case.

Had an e-mail from my uncle Gordie on Tiree this evening. They have come back to the island after a few days on the mainland. Mum and Dad were speculating on how rough the voyage would be this morning. It seems they were right. I don't think I would have liked that very much at all.

Mum and dad also keeping banging on about something called Christmas. I can't quite remember what that is, but it does sound it might be fun especially when it's linked to a word I do know - holiday. Sounds like there's another trip in the van in the offing. Can't wait.

November  

Wed 28

Back to see the leeches today. Actually that's a bit unkind. I know they are really helping me, and though I don't enjoy the experience, I'm quite laid back about it really. Quite literally in fact. I just sprawl on the table, let them do what they need to and grin at them.

So, what's the score? Well, a slight reduction in pcv this time. Down to 37, in fact. But the vet reassures us that this is not significant and that the disease is still under control. To prove it, he reduces the dosage of preds down to 1 tablet of 25 mg a day. That's a third of what I started with. He also said this should be given just once a day as it reduces the side effects.

That's all very well, but I bet that means I end up missing out on my supper of Swedish chicken meatballs that dad uses to hide the medication. (He thinks I don't know. I do. I just don't care). He's holding out the promise of 1 tab every second day if the pcv stays more or less constant.

Got weighed again. Down to 23.5kg, from 24.3 last week. That's promising too. I don't know what I was before this all started but I think it was round about 22kg. Dad was worried about the effect the weight gain might have on my hips. The weight loss can only be down to 2 things - exercise (doing between 6 and 7 miles a day) and being starved.

Other than that, a petty normal week really. Mum went off to stay with her mate Les at Hampton Court Palace for a couple of days on Monday. Wasn't invited and wouldn't really have fancied it anyway. She's got cats!!. It did mean a nice ride in the car though, which is always good. Didn't stay at the lake though. Too cold, dark and boring this time of the year, says dad. Did go there though and had a chat with Rusty.

 

Found some of Barney's old cheweys in the toy box today. They didn't last long after I got all the toys out that were hiding them.

  Apparently Barney used to love watching shinty on the TV almost as much as he loved Aussie rules football. I've tried to get into it, but they keep playing the bloody pipes in the background, and that really gets my goat. Actually this was on Hamish Macbeth. The theme tune has the pipes coming on half way through. I don't even wait for them to come in now. As soon as I hear the theme start, I come haring in from wherever I am and give the TV a piece of my mind. Bloody pipes!

Tue 20

Snow didn't last.  Ran into Rusty with his mum and John Bo. at Coopers Hill yesterday. He was pleased to see me - and a bit surprised I think.

Today was pretty much a repeat of last Tuesday.  Another marginal improvement in pcv, up to 40 now. That's double what I was three and a half weeks ago.  Medication reduced again slightly - down to 30 mg of preds. I thought given the improvement they might had reduced it a bit more, to 25 say. But better to play it safe I guess

Had a good Coopers Hill run when we got back. We did the full 4 miles this time.  Still a few squirrels about.

Sun 18

Not a lot to report really. Dad's been having to do a lot of work on the van. Something to do with the plumbing. Boring for me, frustrating for him. I wonder if we'll still be allowed to live here after the language that's been heard up and down the street.

Tried cutting out the Ranitidine earlier in the week. Not a good idea. Resulted in a slight case of Delhi Belly/Gypie tummy/Montezuma's revenge. Call it what you like, it ain't very pleasant. So started taking it again and it seems to have cleared things up again.

Upped the exercise routine a bit this week. Even got to do a full 4 mile Coopers Hill run a couple of times. Ran into Liz's daughter Catherine coming out of school with a mate of hers. "Do you think that dog's out on his own? He looks a lot like Beau you know" Of course he looks like Beau. It's me. And I'll sit on your foot and be stroked, while dad gets out the plastic bag and cleans up after me.

Went to the lake on Saturday and Sunday and had a run around the bottom paddock before chilling out with the guys in the clubhouse. Its nice to belong. Rusty was in a quandary. He wanted people to throw the ball for him, but was worried about putting it down in case I nicked it. So he wandered around with it in his mouth whining.

Bit on the chilly side Sunday. Started to rain while we were on our Coopers Hill run, so dad cut the run short. In the evening it got so cold and wet I wouldn't go out into the garden even though I was dying for a pee. I wish dad would build a bloody great pergola or something.

 

But then the rain turned to snow - and that is something totally different. I like snow! (in case you didn't know)

Tue 13

Back for the dreaded check-up. Saw a vet that mum would probably like to know better, young, slim vaguely Mediterranean looking. When I tell her, she says she's already clocked him. Anyway - marginal improvement in pcv, up to 38. Had hoped for more. But the vet explained that this improvement has come about despite the drop in medication. So he's dropped the dose again to 37.5 mg of preds. It'll test dad's cutting skills to quarter small pills like that. His problem not mine.

Had a good run when we got back. Coopers Hill again. But we had to cut off about half a mile because they were cutting back the gorse on a section we normally use.

Had an e-mail from uncle Gordie complaining about us air-brushing his hair out of one of the photos. I got dad to put it back. You can see the result in the photo gallery.

Sat 10 & Sun 11

Mum's away for a girls' weekend, so dad and I grab the chance to have a boys' weekend, just by way of a change. No prizes for guessing where. Saturday was quite breezy so dad went sailing, but not before we had a 3 mile run across the fields. A lot of my people friends around, many of them back from a week's windsurfing in Egypt. All of them glad to see me and asking how I was feeling. Had a few arguments with dad about subjects such as the nutritional value of a dead seagull I found by the lakeside. I reckoned it looked pretty fresh. Can't have been dead for more than about 2 weeks and other animals had obviously tucked in. Dad won that argument. I hate him sometimes.

Less wind on Sunday, so we took the bike to check out an off-road route to Marston, since the farmer ploughed up the route we used to take.  Fewer people around so Dad let me spend some time in the clubhouse. I like that. Plenty of opportunity to socialize. And when the phone rings I can get really hysterical telling people to answer it.  Sometimes I just get hysterical and bark for the sake of it and Tony comes running thinking that the phone is ringing.....fooled him!

Rusty came round to say hello as usual. Came round to see if I had left any dinner in my bowl.  (I used to once).

Not any more, sunshine!!!

And while he was checking that out, I took my chance and nicked his ball.

People often ask where I sleep in the van. The answer is "where I bloody like". Sometimes its here, sometimes its there. But when I get tired I like to sneak off to the driver's seat, especially when dad has left the sheepskin there for me. I can be out of the way and hidden there, but still in a position to control people's comings and goings through the side door and to keep an eye on what people are doing inside.

Control - that's what life is all about if you are a sheep dog.

Fri 9

Feel even better than yesterday. Beginning to make my will felt again, bossing not only Mum but Dad as well. Went out for 3 runs today, totalling something like 4 miles. Drinking and peeing a little less. Still hungry, but not quite as ravenous as I have been, I can think of things other than food. Probably the reduction in steroid intake. Getting bored if dad spends too long on the computer - and I let him know about it. Not staying at the lake tonight. Dad says its too bloody cold and it gets dark too early. Having a rain check on tomorrow. Dad says there's wind on the way and it seems to be warming up a tad.

Tue 6

Back to the vets again. Saw Julia this time. No need to check my temp, so managed to preserve some dignity. PCV count up to 37. Had hoped for more improvement, but that is at least at the bottom of the "normal range". Medication has been cut to 50 mg of preds per day. Good news is that I don't have to go back to the vet for another blood test till next week

God, but I'm hungry. Went to the lake to pack up the van. Weather was great and my mate Rusty was there. Had to give him a lift home as he had come following John B. on his mountain bike.

Mon 5

Had more of a run today. About a mile and a half on Coopers Hill with my dad on his bike. Bit tired after, but good to be back doing the things I like.

Sat 3 & Sun 4th

Beginning to feel a bit better. Nice to have the whole pack camping at the lake. Weather's good too. Looks as if there might be some kind of party happening tonight too. And where there's a party there's usually food!!!

Time we had a good run

Tired now, but that was a good run!

 Fri 2 Another check-up. Only saw the nurse this time. More blood sampled. When the vet came back with the result he seemed genuinely surprised. PCV is up to 35. We're beginning to approach the bottom end of the normal range. Beginning to get some energy back. Managed a gentle jog of about a mile today. The venison disappeared a week ago to be replaced by rump steak. Today it was back to dog food. But I don't really care. I'm beginning to get very hungry. Moved back to the lake again for a long weekend, trying to get away from all the fireworks.

October  
Mon 29 Another check up. 2 vets, Julia and Jennifer + a couple of nurses. They're all very happy to see me and I like them too, but I wish they wouldn't stick that glass thing up my bum. Also, I know we're coming up to Halloween, but do those vampires have to take so much blood? The results are hopeful though. PCV has gone up to 25. Have to go back on Friday.

Fri 26 Back to the vet for more blood tests and a check up. Feeling a bit better, but when the results come back, there is no improvement in the pcv. We move back to the lake for weekend. Venison is replaced by rump steak done rare. I can cope with that

Thu 25 Still feeling tired. Gentle walk at the lake where I see my mate Rusty. He seems a bit worried when I won't chase him.  More venison for dinner - I could get used to this diet.

Wed 24 The diagnosis has come back confirming IMHA. I have a pcv of 20. Vet says that if it drops to 15 they might have to consider blood transfusion. Prescribed prednisilone - 75mg a day + ranitidine to protect the lining of the stomach. On the good side I am allowed to go home. Mum and Dad have sprung me. Still feeling very tired. Mum and dad keep peeling back my lips to look at my gums. Wish they wouldn't. On the positive side my diet has taken a distinct turn for the better. Instead of my usual dog food I am getting treated to venison steak. I think Dad has stuck something into some of the bits, but who cares.

Tue 23 Still feeling shitty. Didn't feel like breakfast and couldn't summon up the energy to go for a run. Dad phones the vet and takes me home. We go the veterinary hospital in the afternoon. I have a high temperature, so they keep me in over-night, take blood samples and give me a body scan.

Mon 22 Still living at the lake. Felt a bit under the weather today. Went for a run with mum and dad yesterday. Felt much more tired than normal. Didn't feel like any dinner tonight