Tag Archives: Pets

Meet Brian the Rescue Bunny

Bri

I will literally travel any distance to make acquaintance with an animal, and am definitely the sort of person who cannot handle the thought of a critter having a substandard quality of life. To cut a long story short, we heard Brian the Bunny was in a predicament lately, and made no hesitations in welcoming him to our home. He moved in this Saturday and we’ve been spending a few days getting to know him.

We don’t know much about his origins except that he’s (probably) a mini-lop house bunny who is about a year old. He’s super confident and inquisitive and extra boingy, so we know he has been treated fairly well in his previous home, but he wasn’t really given the space or attention he deserves & craves. “Rescue” is perhaps a dramatic term in his case, “Rehomed” is probably more apt.
We brought him home and gave him free roam of our lounge-dining room so he could get to know us and have some space to himself. Pleasantly, we discovered he’s completely litter trained (well done, Bri!)

It also turns out he’s really big on having company, as he doesn’t spend much time in his hidey-holes, although we have made sure he has plenty of space to “get away from it all” if he wants to. He especially like snuggling up with your feet (he prefers when you wear socks) and isn’t averse to sitting by you on the sofa watching TV. He also has the sweetest little grunt.

So, welcome Brian! In time I’ll probably share some content about learning to live with a Bunny – but if you’re already a Bun Mum and have some great tips or advice then please share it!

Kitty

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Dog Sitting | How to Prepare for a 4 Legged Lodger

Dog Sitting Tips

For the next 3 weeks Mr K and I will be hosting this bouncing 2 year old Labrador, and I wanted to share a few thoughts on how we have made our house comfortable, safe and convenient for dog sitting. It’s not as easy as opening up your hearts, but the good news is it’s great fun and very rewarding!

If you’re thinking about getting a dog, minding a dog or perhaps joining Borrow My Doggy, keep reading to see how we dog-proofed our home and minds.

1. Establish Boundaries
This is literally the most important thing when you have a dog. Physical and behavioural boundaries are essential to give the dog consistency, which encourages a them to settle in. Decide which rooms they will be allowed in and whether they’ll be allowed on furniture. If you’re dog sitting, then these are things you can confirm with the pooch’s parents. For example, our Labrador lodger sleeps in the kitchen, doesn’t get on sofas and rarely goes upstairs.
Behavioural boundaries are just as important – for example barking, begging at the table and pulling on a lead among other things can prove troublesome. Chat with the owner about these things first and be ready to brave doggy kisses, early-morning walkies wake-ups and excessive moulting. Forewarned is fore-armed, and if any of this is stuff you just cannot handle, then don’t make the commitment!

2.Routine is King
Dogs need structure to feel comfortable. Wherever possible, mirror his schedule in your home to his regular routine – walkies, bedtime and mealtimes should be as close to usual as possible. They can get pretty uncomfortable when their surroundings, companions and routine all change at once, so don’t be surprised if your visitor doesn’t settle in immediately. When you’ve got a schedule, stick with it – you’ll find it’s well received!

3.Be tidy
You’re a grown up, so you should be tidy anyway, but when you’re hosting a dog it’s super important for yourself, your dog, their owners and all of your belongings. A nervous/bored/unsettled dog can start to deal with their frustration by chewing or eating things they normally wouldn’t. Move small edible things and anything you don’t want covering with saliva. If you’re allowing the dog into bedrooms or on sofas I’d also recommend inexpensive throws and bedding to protect your “good stuff”.

4.Communicate
Dogs read your body language like absolute pros. It might feel silly at first, but ask any dog owner and you’ll find they have conversations with their dogs. Treat them as a welcome member of your “pack” and they’ll settle in much faster – providing you show them they aren’t pack leader. Firm instructions like “no” and “sit” usually work for this, but don’t be mean. Dogs are generally very social animals, but when you first introduce your 4-legged-friend to your home, let them adjust and come to you in their own time. This will show them you’re not a threat.

5.Compromise
You can’t invite a creature from another species into your home and expect they’ll just adapt perfectly to your humanness. You have to compromise – for example, your dog doesn’t know you’ve got your work clothes on, so he might still try to cuddle up with you. It’s not his fault you look so squishy. Be prepared to get covered in dog hair (buy a lint roller) and for your make up to be removed using saliva. Get used to closing the toilet seat and keeping food under a close guard. Accept that you’ll have to bag up parcels of poo, and that your back garden may need hosing down every few days. Get used to walks (rain or shine) and learn how to use TiVo because Rex won’t care whether you’re half way through a programme if he needs a tinkle!

Do you have any tips for preparing your home for a dog? Despite being a dog owner my whole life, I’m sure there is expertise I’m missing!

Final KITTY suggestive digestive-01

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How to Rebuild a Dog | A Story

Charlie

In May 2015 one of the beloved McGee dogs, Charlie (a 7 year old Border Collie), suffered a pretty bad fall on a beach, which left him with 2 broken front legs, among other more minor injuries.

Today, he is on the path to recovery and I wanted to share a few thoughts about how the family (along with fantastic vet support) rebuilt our dog.

It was about 11pm on a Friday night when I got a call from my parents, who had been holidaying in their motorhome with Charlie while I dog-sat our other dog at home. “There’s been a bit of an accident,” Mum said, with all the gravity of someone about to announce the death of a grandparent. “We think Charlie might have broken a leg”.
My mum can sometimes be a bit melodramatic (sorry Mum!) so at the time, I didn’t consider it to be a huge deal – except that weekend and night-rate vet bills aren’t pretty, and we don’t have pet insurance (that’s another story).

Turns out I was wrong. Our chunky chappie had damaged bones, ligaments and tendons in both of his front paws – the emergency vet patched him up and sent him home with instructions to speak to our own vet about the likelihood of putting him to sleep (which, we were told, was the most probable outcome).
When he came home that night, he was in such a sorry state, dazed by painkillers and wide-eyed from shock, and the biggest McGee dog looked very tiny indeed. A bit like when he came to us as a rescue pooch, too young to be un-mothered:

charlie2

There was a lingering, suffocating silence in the house which told me that I wasn’t the only one who didn’t want to ask if we were going to put him to sleep.
I tossed and turned all night, hoping the last night of Charlie’s life wasn’t going to be filled with injury, pain and fear. Idealists that we are, none of us voiced our secret concerns, and in hindsight it’s a good job.

The following morning we bundled him off to our own vet – strapped up and pathetic – to hope for good news. While it was thin on the ground, the vet did suggest a referral to a local-ish Supervet who had an orthopedic specialist. They weren’t sure he could be fixed, but we thought it worth a visit. In the meantime he was re-bandaged, medicated and we were given instructions on how to help him do very basic things…. like poo. If you’ve ever had a medium/large dog, you’ll know you don’t want to help it poo under any circumstances. He is big and heavy, and so is his poo.

Right here I’ll note that our Charlie is not a particularly lighthearted creature under normal circumstances. He’s lovingly referred to as ‘Snarlie’ at home, which basically sums him up. Nevertheless, he was taking all of this upheaval in his stride. Perhaps it was the drugs. Whatever it was, seeing this grumpy mutt holding his temper, plodding along despite his injury was quite touching.

A few days later we visited Dr Charlie Sale at Oakwood Veterinary Practice, who we were were told “isn’t cheap, but is very, very good”. Snarlie Charlie was looked over and declared too fat, but also repairable over time.

We learned he would need repairs to tendons, plates in his paws and legs, and at least one bone graft, the recovery process would be long and the surgeries invasive. Obviously at that point our concerns were about his quality of life following such an ordeal – but Dr Charlie had done this procedure countless times – he’d even done it once before on 2 front legs.

IMG_7626

We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but we scheduled surgery for Charlie’s first leg 4 weeks ago. He did really well, stole the hearts of the nurses and came home skinny and dazed, but on the mend. They put these really cool sleeves on his legs, like what you’d cover a golf club with. He wasn’t keen on them, but they certainly stopped him gnawing at his stitches, bumping his cast or trying to chew it off. Despite this, his painkillers were so good he did regain his mobility slightly earlier than we’d expected, which made for some very heart-in-mouth moments when he’d try to sprint into the garden and get himself tangled in his own feet.

Another huge blessing is that he regained his ability to poo on his own, which was a celebration in itself. Not just for us – he’s quite a private animal, so I think he felt a little better for it too.

With lots of love, patience and perseverance from the family, the vets and nurses at Oakwood and our local vet and heaps of determination from Charlie, we’re seeing our grumpy old man get better every day. It will be several months before he’s walking properly again, and perhaps a year until he’s able to come close to running – but he is with us.
(January 16 update: Charlie can now run, bounce and even tackle stairs again – if you hadn’t read this story, you’d never know what he went through)
We rebuilt this dog because, expensive as it was, it’s nice to have a little grumble coming from under the dining table when you walk past. We rebuilt the dog because, grumpy as he is, he’s charming. He has a kiss for everyone, sometimes several, and we knew he had plenty more kisses to distribute.

So…how do you rebuild a dog?
Mostly with love.

Kitty

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