Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Poppy Unwell

Over the weekend Poppy became ill. We couldn't put a finger on what was the matter with her. She was off her food and not responding as she normally does. She was making a sort of wheezing noise, the sort of noise she makes when we take her for a walk and she's on her lead. She pulls considerably and this is when she makes the wheezing noise, but this time it was without the lead on.
Carol was off for a further week, as the Academy has a two-week half term, compared to one week for the rest of the schools in Milton Keynes. We wanted to take the dogs for a walk, and had considered three options, Salcey Forest, Stockgrove Country Park and a walk along the river at Woughton (which is the closest of the tree.) We haven't been to Stockgrove for some time, so we got the dogs organised, with Alfie doing his usual howling and getting really excited and spinning round in circles act, and drove out onto the A5. Stockgrove Park is great as not only do the dogs get a good walk, we can go on several routes, one of which avoids the lake as Poppy is prone to jumping in and disturbing the ducks (which she shouldn't really do, as there are notices to that effect.) Unfortunately, when we got there we were somewhat surprised and not a little annoyed to discover that there was a payment barrier across the entrance, which wasn't there the last time we visited. There was a  voluntary payment scheme there, whereby you can put a £1 coin in a box, but this was something completely new. Also, the spaces along the road outside had been blocked with wooden bollards, thus preventing you to park there. A real shame, as the dogs would have enjoyed their walk and we'd have stopped at the end of our walk to have a coffee in the cafe. So we decided to drive back to Milton Keynes, having wasted time and petrol on getting there.  We decided to take the dogs to Furzton Lakes, one of our regular dog-walking places when we lived at Crownhill. We let the dogs off their leads and walked around the lakes, and immediately we reached the lakes and walked along the raised boardwalk, Poppy jumped in the lake and chased a few ducks and moorhens. She would not come out when called. Alfie doesn't like water much, probably remembering the time he jumped over a wall when we took the dogs along the canal and was somewhat surprised by the water he fell into the other side! He seems to get really concerned for Poppy, running around barking at her, as if to say "Poppy, you really shouldn't be doing that. Get out immediately!" She did eventually come out, and then both dogs made friends with some other, larger, dogs that were being exercised by their owners. Alfie runs up to any dog he meets, regardless of size, and attempts to make friends, and the other dog usually is so surprised by his friendliness that they don't really know what to do. He is so fast and goes up to their faces to lick them, and has a habit of jumping up at people, which he really shouldn't do.

Well, Poppy didn't seem too bad at this time. If she could jump in the lake and have a swim, she obviously wasn't too bad, and definitely not unwell. It was later on in the week she seemed to get worse, and perhaps the swim in the lake didn't help. She is usually a happy little dog, and seems to enjoy her food. She will make sure she gets fed on time and will come up to me and bark when she knows it's time. We usually watch "The One Show" on BBC1 each evening, and as soon as the music starts up at the end, she will come to me and bark and make a fuss. Alfie is fully aware of the time I feed them, and doesn't make much fuss. He's a patient little soul. But over the next few days Poppy was off her food. Carol became concerned and was on the verge of taking her to the vet. She went on the internet and found that dogs of Poppy's size were prone to this breathing problem. She was recommended to give Poppy Asprin and used a couple of the soluble Asprin tablets I have been prescribed to prevent blood clots and ward off another heart attack. This was mixed in with some of her food. We even got some lighter dog food for her, and Poppy did eventually eat this. Gradually she seemed to get better. Carol sat one evening with Alfie on her lap and brushed him. He doesn't mind it too much, infact I think he likes it. He certainly likes the attention, but touch him or brush him in the wrong place and he will growl at you. Usually these are areas of his coat which are matted or tangled, and no doubt the comb or brush gets snagged in his coat and pulls and must hurt considerably. Poppy was hiding behind the sofa. Whenever she hurts herself, say, with a claw that gets pulled or caught or something, she can become a real prima donna and hide under the bed, or, in this case, behind the sofa. We heard her sneeze, and sneeze several times, perhaps six times. As a result, she improved rapidly. We wondered whether she had something lodged in her throat, which made her breath with that horrible noise, the sneezing dislodging whatever it was. But, thankfully, she returned to her old self and got better. She ate her dinner that evening and we were really relieved.

The following day we walked with the dogs to the shop the other side of Eaglestone estate. We let the dogs off their leads in the park, which resulted in them both running around madly. Alfie rushes all over the place, and Poppy noses around under buses and goes into people's front gardens. She saw a cat and chased it across the park, proving that she must have got over her period of being unwell. The cat must have wondered what on earth it was that had hit it! Fortunately Poppy never managed to catch up with it, but she really doesn't like cats!


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