Tuesday, 8 August 2017

What Farah did on her holidays (quality of life for senior dogs)

You might have noticed the absence of emails and blogs for the last couple of weeks – I’ve been on holiday with my three collies.
Holiday time, or more specifically downtime, is surprisingly important. Without quiet time brains don’t get a chance to process all the information or learning – and that’s true for our dogs just as much for ourselves.
So the only “training” I worked on was Freya’s ongoing “Project Squirrel” (resist chasing the squirrel and come back when called). We had lots of new places in Scotland to practice and it went really well – more about that next time.
Most of my time was focused on Farah, affectionately known as the “little old lady collie” now. Farah is about 13 yrs old and bright as a wee button. However her physical body is slowly giving up on her (hip & elbow dysplasia, arthritis and heart issues). We need to balance medication, massage and acupuncture to keep her pain levels down.
Quality of life is our priority right now, and for the moment I think we’re managing ok. 

Here’s what Farah did on her holidays (in her own words)

“I started by supervising a canicross training camp in the Forest of Dean. While I enjoyed sleeping on my own air mattress I was less impressed at being told I couldn’t do any of the running – these youngsters have no idea how to do it right.

I’ve been out for dinner several times though I did have to chase down a waitress who foolishly took away my chips. The waitress stopped and apologised which made it a bit better, but I still didn’t get my chips back.* 

The chauffeuring has been better than usual with daily trips to good places, often with streams or rivers for me to guddle** in. I particularly enjoyed the morning visits to Loch Tay.

We stopped off on our way back from Scotland as it’s a long drive, and the room had a whole bed just for me – this is proper luxury retirement. Shall have to ask for my own bed at home…

Coffee and bonus cheese sniffing at cafes has happened fairly often (but could always be improved), so many dog friendly cafes make it much easier for me to have exciting days.

I convinced mum to get back into the kitchen and bake my favourite biscuits this weekend (cheese flavoured obviously) as she’s been a bit slack lately. I tested the dough several times, and then the biscuits – you can never be too careful.

One day mum did sneak in teaching a workshop, but I made
it clear this was not acceptable by eating her dinner roll, opening my medication pots and eating a whole tub of cocktail sausages at lunchtime***

It’s been a lovely couple of weeks, and I do hope my mum can keep up with this new lifestyle as I’m rather enjoying it….”

Notes and translations
*The chips were left over, Farah had already had several and didn’t need any more!
**Guddle means paddle and mess around in water
***I now know not to leave ANYTHING in the front of the van – she really is growing old disgracefully!

Have a wonderful week!
Morag and the collie girls

PS This is a great website with lots of helpful hints for your older or arthritic dog https://www.caninearthritis.co.uk/ 

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