Click to go to:- Oct-Dec 2007 diaries

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24th Dec 2008

Guess what? Its Christmas and we're back in the Highlands! Mum was determined to get up here as soon as possible, so we hit the road last Friday, just a week after her op. It's great coming back to a place you know and that you feel comfortable in. You don't have to sass everything out and make up new rules - just dust off the old ones. I have my nest again behind the sofa and armchair where I can crash out on my sheepskins but still keep an eye on everyone and everything.

Mum has decorated the indoor tree while dad got the outside one up and covered with lights. The snow that was here a couple of weeks ago has been washed away, but that doesn't matter. It just means that dad gets his mountain bike out instead of skis as we roam the hills.

My old chum Tay isn't here any more which is sad. His place has been taken by something called a Millie. It's a bit like the Humphrey I met last year but white with big black spots. She worried me when I first came across her on the hill, but I think she's mostly harmless - just very excitable and fast.


Well, that's the tree up, when do we open the presents?

I really like opening presents. Actually the wrapping paper is more fun than what's inside

Bloody hell! That rubber chicken is scary!! I think I'll just hide here for a while till I make sure whether it's dangerous

17th Dec 2008

So much has happened in the last couple of months. We moved back to the house a few weeks ago after dad had made it habitable again, with the help of decorators employed by the insurance company. Just as well too. The days were getting too short and it was getting very cold and wet. Strange thing was that although we left in the van, the van was taken away a few days later on the back of a flat bed truck. Not sure why, but dad kept mumbling something about "brake failure", "that's going to cost a bit" and "could have been a lot worse, I guess".

I wasn't too comfortable about living inside brick walls for a while. I kept telling dad it was time to get back to the lake each evening and got a bit depressed when he wouldn't drive us there. I reckoned that was where the van had been taken back to. I got used to it after a while and started enjoying life back here again. The Cooper's Hill run is a good one. I even got used to the new kitchen and have gradually got used to eating my dinner fully inside it. To start with I had to have my food bowl placed so I could keep at least my rear end out in the hall.

Then for a while the emphasis switched from my health to mum's. Turns out she caught a touch of something called cancer. That seemed to get both mum and dad a bit worried for a while so I turned my attention to looking after her. I guess it can't have been that serious because after a few days in hospital (that's a sort of people's vet's) she came back home again. She was a bit tired for a couple of days, but there obviously wasn't too much wrong with her, so I have started bossing her about again. Her doctors (vets??) seem to agree because they have said there's no reason why we shouldn't go back north to the Scottish Highlands again on Friday.

I went for a quick check-up today, too. Pcv was up to 46, so there's no reason why I can't go to the Highlands either. Dad has started packing. If I sleep faster we'll be there sooner.

One other thing has happened. Mum and dad have got very excited. It seems that all the time mum has spent playing with her computer instead of with me  might have paid off. Apparently she has written a "book" and some people have printed it and are selling it. It's called Henry the Eighth's hat and you can find out all about it by clicking on the link.

5th Oct 2008

Still living at the lake. Dad had been talking about moving back to the house. But that was before the living room ceiling came crashing down last week. He'd fitted a new hot water cylinder which turned out to have leak. Water slowly trickled out through the lagging, under the floor boards where it collected until it reached critical mass. I don't mind. It means the whole pack is together again as mum has moved back in with us again. She had moved home once dad finished the kitchen a few weeks ago.

Went to the vet  last week to see if the rabies booster had allowed the IMHA to kick in again. Good news. Pcv still  stable at 44, so my dosage of preds has gone down to 1mg every 2 days.  The other good news is that my weight had gone down slightly to  25.2 kg. Dad has built up the exercise routine to 6 miles every day and we have been raising the pace a little. I have been able to canter further than I used to to . Last week we managed a consistent 7mph + over the distance. It has been raining today so dad took me to the forest centre in the car and we had a shorter run over the cinder tracks there. It was still just short of 5 miles and I managed an average speed of 8.2 mph.

We have a new visitor to entertain us here. A squirrel has decided that the bird feeder is a good place for foraging.

As autumn draws in, there have been some colourful sunsets

29th Aug 2008

After 6 weeks in Scotland, we have returned back south. But it could be worse, we've just moved straight back to the lake so I'm not confined by brick walls. Lots of people around and there are parties every few days so I'm not stuck with just boring mum and dad. Some of my people friends say they have seen me swimming in the lake. Mum and dad don't believe it and say I have just been walking in the water up to my neck. The truth? I'm not telling.

We've been going back to the house every day so dad can carry on working on the kitchen. Mum decided that the dust levels have subsided to a safe level and she has moved back home a few days ago

Another visit to the vet  showed my pcv was stable at 44. The decision is taken to give me a rabies booster. That was 3 days ago and I haven't had an adverse reaction. Worming pills haven't affected my digestion either (that's expressing things delicately, isn't it?) Julia seems pretty confident about my short term prognosis at least. I don't have to go for another pcv check for 4 weeks. If I'm still stable then my dosage of preds will go down to 1mg every 2 days. That's 1/150 of my initial dosage last October. Guess the next stage will be to come off the drugs altogether. That's a scary thought. At 25.8 kg I'm still overweight but it hasn't gone up. People thought I had put weight on while on holiday, but it turns out that it was just my coat filling out again after my earlier hair loss. Dad's hair hasn't come back. Shame!

1st Aug 2008

Nearly two months since my last entry. Dad's work on the kitchen went pretty well, so at the beginning of July we set off on our travels back to Scotland and the Hebridean island of Tiree.

A final visit to the vet before we left showed my pcv was back up to 46. Smiles all round, though I didn't appreciate the joke about having to take red blood cells away if I carried on improving like this!

The island is just the same as I remembered. We headed over to "our" dune to find a car and a small tent on our spot. Momentary panic followed by relief when it turned out to uncle Gordie and Auntie Joanne pretending to have camped there the last 3 days to save our spot.  Party on the first day. Great! Then dad rode off on on his bike which get me angry. But I forgave him when he got back because he was in Mum's old car. I'd forgotten all about that. Beach, van, car, friends - what more can a dog want? We hadn't been on island more than a couple of days when the machair monster Harvey turned up. He comes around most days, hangs around the van (I don't let him inside) then we have to run him home in the car. I sit on the back seat. I insist that Harvey knows his place and rides in the boot. Since then we have settled back into the old routines of island life - walks, dips in the sea or the lake, the odd party. I quite like it really.

  The view from the van

  On the beach with dad

     There's nothing like a good soak

   Apart form a nice bit of weed
  Turns out Gordie and mum like a  soak too   Great to have the car here

Early June 2008

Doesn't time fly, eh? Sorry to anybody who thought that no news was bad news and got worried about me. Truth is that Dad and I have been too busy to update the website as frequently as we did.

Just after we got back from France, we had a spot of really good weather and so we moved down to the lake for a bit. Then it peed with rain so we moved back to the house. Then the weather turned good again and so it was back to the lake. A hard life indeed!!   I don't know if it was the changing weather or it was dad hitting his head on a cupboard door in the kitchen, but he seems to have taken leave of his senses. He has ripped out the whole kitchen!!! And knocked out tiles in the bathroom. AND ripped out floorboards in the front bedroom.  There were loads of boxes delivered which are now sitting in the garage. We go back to the house every day (well those days when it isn't very sunny or there's no wind) and dad does various noisy things around the house. Mum and dad keep muttering "it will look really great when it is finished". I've no idea what they are talking about but I'll take their word for it. In the meantime we live by the lakeside. The house is uninhabitable. Some evenings there are informal parties, other evenings I'm stuck with the boring two of them. But I can cope.

Anyway - health update. Generally upbeat. Been to see Julia 3 times since we got back. First pcv was 46 - excellent result so the dosage of preds was dropped to 2.5mg every other day. Next pcv was 43. Nothing to worry about, so stuck to the same dosage. Third pcv was down to 40, so just a little concern and it was decided not to cut the medication further at this stage. But I did have a vaccination against Veils disease - quite a sensible precaution given the rats that live around the lake. That might have had an effect. But I didn't seem to react badly to the inoculation, so I will have some more jabs in the autumn - especially the rabies one. Essential if I'm to continue travelling.


  Its just a little cosy sleeping here

      Chilling in the sunshine is not bad too

April 2008

Tue 8th

March has come and gone, and so has our holiday. What can you say? it was great. AND I DID REMEMBER ALL THOSE PLACES - some not as well as others it is true and some things were just too confusing. We got to the apartment block in Valmorel and I kept going to the wrong door. Turns out dad got us a different apartment this time, on the top floor. It wasn't till the end of our stay that I started to feel confident about where to go.

When we got to Pontarlier, there wasn't much white stuff about - only on the tops of the hills. So it was bike rides for the first couple of days. Then the snow came down. That was the end of the bike for the holiday. Dad finally did what he has been threatening to do for a long time and had a cross country skiing lesson followed very quickly by the purchase of the appropriate kit. After that the new skis replaced the bike and we went off for daily walks in the snow. Sometimes in the deep stuff, and sometimes on prepared pistes. After a week of this we headed south to  Valmorel in the Alps, where the routine continued. After a couple of weeks it was back to Pontarlier, where guess what? it snowed even more. The routine was varied a little by the van failing to start (as well as all the waterworks freezing up).  But even that had an upside - WE GOT A CAR while the van problem was sorted out. And you know how I feel about cars. The other thing of significance was that mum got into the snow sports this year when we discovered that modern snow shoes are much lighter and less bulky than the ones dad bought a few years ago. She got kitted out too, and then there was no stopping her.

After a little over a month it was back home and the inevitable visit to the vet.  I thought I had the bloodletting behind me, but apparently not. Still, the result was not bad. A slight drop back to a pcv of 41, but that was good enough for Julia to drop the medication to 5mg of preds every other day. So now we wait and see if the system remains stable. Hope so! My tail has got distinctly thin as a result of hair loss caused by the medication. Nothing like as thin as the top of dad's head, but I did have a magnificent collie tail. Julia says I should get it back providing we don't have to go back to high doses of steroids. I don't somehow think dad is going to get his hair back. He reckons he has as much as he ever did, but that is just growing in different places. My weight, which was 25.2 kg just before leaving France has crept back up to 25.8 in just over  a week. Dad says his weight has gone up too and reckons it is something to do with the lower altitude. I know its the drugs with me. Don't know what his excuse is.

Anyway, enough of  the words, have a look at the pictures. Click on the thumbnails to see a larger picture in a new window, then close the new window to return to this page.



The first snowfall

Is this cold enough for you?

The outdoor kitchen

I like the smells coming out of there

When dad goes out on his own, I just have to get angry with something


Just catching some rays can be fun too


About time we went isn't it?

Nice to meet you

Can't stop, places to go!



Who's a cool dude?

Its Christmas all winter long here.

Even the mountains have lights. We reckon this one looks like a dog.

Here we go again.


Even mum's in on the act.

Is this deep enough?

Now the skis are really needed.

Who cares if the van has broken down? I've got a car!

February 2008

Sun 18th

Well February is half way through and I've only just got around to updating the web site. The thing is that now we are at home, life has basically slipped into the old routine. Daily runs over to Cooper's Hill, with occasional visits to the lake, mostly over the weekend. I enjoy it, but it doesn't make for riveting reading - rather repetitive to the outsider. The big news is always on the medical front. I had another check-up on Thursday and my pcv was up to 44. Under normal circumstances that would have triggered a further reduction in medication. BUT we are due to go off in the van in a couple of weeks for a trip to the French Alps. Dad has been telling me all about it and I'm pretty sure I remember something about what he's talking about. White stuff, telebourg, Valmorel, Pontarlier, forest walk, French girlfriends - they all bring back vague memories. And we'll be living in the van again for some of the time. Can't be bad.

SO it has been decided to play it safe and stay on the same dosage until I get back when I can try another reduction and be closely monitored.

The downside is that I am still putting weight on, even at this level of steroids. Gone up to 26 kilos now. I'm certainly not eating any more than I was before, and we're keeping pretty active. I'm putting in between 4 and 8 miles a day and my average speed has crept up to about 8mph.

Other things -  Had a visit from Fran's sister and brother-in-law. Haven't met them before, but they were very nice. Their daughter is training to be a jockey. Glad she didn't come with her horse!!

Then last week Dad had a phone call from one of the gang from the lake. It seems that their Jake, another of my chums, has just come down with IMHA too. What a bummer! At the moment things look promising for him too. His pcv had only dropped to about 25 and after a week of treatment it has risen to 33. So hopefully his treatment will be as effective at controlling this thing as mine has been so far.



Fri 25th

How time flies. Just as I was pretty confident that we had moved to Scotland for good, mum and dad started to pack up the van. I was NOT well pleased. I had settled into a good routine. Sometimes we would take the bike out for a long ride around the mountain bike trails at the Nevis range. Sometimes it would be a shorter ride if dad was going skiing. I couldn't understand why I couldn't go with him. After all, we always have a run together with skis in Valmorel. Sometimes we would just go into the hills behind Inchree. Combining the Wades road walk with the waterfall walk gives us about 5 miles with a total climb of about 300 metres. Going up is slow. Going down is fine on 4 paws, but looks quite hairy at times on 2 wheels.

Yesterday I went for a check-up. More good news - blood count had only dropped to 39, so auntie Julia dropped the dosage to half a tab every other day.

Still haven't seen Rusty yet. Should be able to catch up with him at the weekend, if not later today.


Fri 4th

Well, here we are at the start of another year. A couple of months ago it was touch and go whether I'd make it.

The year was ushered in in true Scots fashion - with fireworks!!!  It sounded as if the area was being pounded by a 100 bomber air raid. I didn't enjoy that very  much. But I was released from the van at that point and allowed into the house. I soon cheered up, especially when uncle Allan started feeding me titbits from the table.

Yesterday it was back to the vet. Good news - blood count was steady at 40 even though I had been on a reduced dosage of preds for the previous week. Might be able to drop still further, but not without checking with one of the vets back home first.

Then WOW! visitors. Gordie and Joanne came over from Tiree to stay for a few days. We picked them up from ferry terminal and took them back to Bunree.

Today we loaded the bike onto the back of the van and drove to the Fort where the others got out to check out the shops. We went off to the Nevis range to go for a ride - but when we got there this is what we found -a few inches of snow in the car park.