Keep safe!

Keep safe!
You are responsible for your own safety and that of your dog. The walks listed in this blog are not detailed guides. Plan your route! Click the landrover image for safety advice from Bowland Pennine MRT.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

One week after cruciate surgery

Well, that's a happily uneventful week, so different to last year. So good that there is not much to to be honest. He remains in his pen unless we go in to garden or for one of his short 10 minute walks. He is pretty needy and has learned quickly to whine and bark for attention, of which he gets lots!  He easts nornally, even taking his antibiotics without a struggle. His poo (dog owners understand the need to say this) has been regular and normal after the first 3 days. He sleeps well, even with his comfy cone on, and yesterday I gave him his usual bed back. It has soft sides so a little more tricky to climb on to.

Stitches look ok. No weeping from the wound. I just need to watch it though after the slight problem last year. He walks well, a slight limp sometimes, and bears weight on it almost all the time he is standing.

My stint of supervising comes to an end tomorrow and back to work on Friday. Happily my better half takes over for a few days so he will have had 2 weeks of full time company. We'll probably leave him for an hour or so over the weekend just to start getting him used to being on his own a little again. All being well, vets on Monday night to have the stitches out.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Dog Cruciate Surgery - Day 3

We are now 3 days after Finney's cruciate surgery.  All good so far.  I dropped him off at Rutlamd Referrals in St Helens on Wednesday morning and he was operated on the same day.  Once again, with the TTA procedure which proved so good on his other leg last year.  Leaving him was, as with last year, all a bit of a blur, but he was happy to go off with the veterinary nurse, and we were equally happy to get the call late afternoon that he had been stable throughout, was waking up and would soon be back on the ward.

The next day I arranged to collect him late afternoon.  He hadn't been quite as good early morning in their view, very quiet, but that isn't unusual for him. It was obviously great to see him, although I think he was so high on Methadone he probably didn't really know what was going on, and we drove carefully back to Preston with him crying (as with last year) all the way.

What was so different to last year was the first night at home.  If you read the blog you'll know neither he or I got any real sleep that first night or the second.  He slept through until about 5am this time which was fantastic.  I think the difference was the Comfy Cone we bought last year.  It has made a massive difference.  He wears it happily night and day, unlike the standard plastic lampshades which must be so uncomfortable to wear.  I would recommend that any dog owner gets a Comfy Cone, before you need it!

He was pretty much bearing weight on his leg the day after surgery, although clearly uncomfortable.  Yesterday was a little better, and we managed 3 very short walks (about 5 minutes). Today, 3 days after surgery, he is better still and we did 10 minutes, which is what we will do 3 times a day for the next 4 weeks.

So, a much better experience for all of us so far, although it's early days yet!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Another torn cruciate

Those that have already experienced their dog tearing a cruciate will no doubt, like us, he acutely aware that there is a high probability the other leg will go within 18 months.  That said, as time goes on and you reach some kind of near normality with off lead walks, hills and beaches you do tend to think that it might not happen!

And so it was, near the start of a week long holiday in Cornwall, that we were strolling along the beach at Marazion when the dog jumped up at me and his leg gave way. Second time round you know in your heart what has happened, although you might give it a little time in the wildly optimistic hope it is just a sprain. At first he did appear to put a little weight on it, but by the next day his leg was clearly not working and the classic toe touching of a cruciate injury was obvious.

Our holiday home was a dream, with an amazing view over Porthtowan beach.  On the down side, there were 30 or so steps up to the car park; no place for an injured Sprimger!  We paid a visit to St Clement Vets in St Agnes, who were lovely and gave him some pain relief for the long trip home, before packing our bags and suffering the 7 hour trip back up North.

Our vets, Riverbank in Preston will no doubt be a second home in the coming weeks. Surgery is booked for Wednesday, back at Rutland House in St Helens.  The pen and mats are back down.  The prospect (certainty) of some sleepless nights is ahead.  All being well though we will be back out on enjoyable walks in the summer!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

A wet stroll around Heaton Park

Not quite sure I made the right choice this afternoon, opting for a walk with the dog while my better half sampled the Golden Apple at Adam Reid's The French in Manchester. Normally we head west to Dunham Massey or Tatton Park whilst she has a day out in a Manchester but today, with heavy rain forecast, I decided to head north and pay a visit to Heaton Park.

The reviews of Heaton Park were good.  Trip Advisor is full of stories about ice cream, drinking tea by the lake and visiting the animal farm.  We will have to return to experience those things.  Our visit was pretty much as wet as it could be, with mainly hardy dog walkers, and (admirably) a cheerful saxophonist busker under his umbrella who told me he was avoiding doing the decorating. I didn't tell him I was avoiding a Michelin starred restaurant!

Although the weather was grim it wasn't hard to see why so many love Heaton Park.  We arrived at the North Car Park (parking was unexpectedly free) and wandered past a super looking kids play area to Heaton Hall. The Hall is a lovely grand building, with a wonderful view over the park and towards the Pennines.  It has of course seen better days but a restoration project is ongoing which I hope restores it to former glory.  Beyond the Hall lies huge open spaces where we had a game of fetch, before following the wide and well maintained footpaths down to the boating lake.  Not a boat in sight today but plenty of ducks and swans. I could imagine on a summers day it would be very different.

We passed an empty lakeside cafe and pretty much deserted funfair before heading back up the hill to the Hall and pleasure gardens and strolling rather aimlessly just soaking up the rain but also the views over the park.

I did actually enjoy our visit here and it's definitely somewhere I would return to. Given its urban setting it has a very rural feel. What surprised me most was that it was spotlessly clean (mud excepted).  Through our entire walk I saw no discarded poo bags, no dog dirt, no smashed glass and no rusting cans.  It's an absolute credit to Manchester City Council and I assume a small army of volunteers that it is kept this way.

Oh, and the Golden Apple was apparently wonderful, as was the rest of the meal. There's always a next time!

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

A perfect Lake District Daytrip

When mountains are off limits and a circuit of Wastwater is likely to leave your dog wasted it doesn't mean you can't enjoy a good Lakeland day out. With me recovering from a severe dose of Man Flu and the dog now living a slightly more sedate lifestyle we still managed to get a lovely day out. 

My plan was to have his three walks as part of a 'big day out', picking out some of the best bits of what have in previous years been longer walks, and taking in a previously unvisited spot to end the day. 

We began at one of our favourite spots, Skelwith Bridge, in Langdale. Walking up the well made path towards Elterwater the views to the Pikes are stunning. Clouds covered the tops intermittently giving a tantalising glimpse of some of the high level paths we have trodden in years gone by. Elterwater itself glistened with the cold wind sending ripples across the surface, destroying any chance of reflection. We sat a while on the stony beach, always a special place, and the dog paddled happily, probably wishing I'd chuck his ball far in to the icy water for him to retrieve it. After half an hour or so of admiring one of the finest views in the lakes we retraced our steps to Chesters and set off for the relatively short trip to our second destination of the day. 

Our second stop, Tarn Hows, is a firm favourite with many. Once again the views are stunning, although by this time occasional drizzle passed overhead. Spirits were certainly not dampened as we strode out through the wooded waterside, passing fabulously shaggy cattle and admiring views across the Tarn and onwards to fellside crags. The circuit of Tarn Hows was complete in an hour or so, leaving time for a pasty, drink and of course some doggy treats whilst we watched the many families, and their dogs, head off on their own adventures. 

I contemplated a visit to Windermere but figured the dog was due his afternoon nap, so took a leisurely drive through Coniston and Ambleside before heading out of the lakes and back to the M6.  Our third walk was a new one for us. The new Heysham Link road means that Morecambe and surrounding area are more accessible than ever, and within 15 minutes of leaving the motorway we entered the hidden gem that is Heysham Village.  Don't be put off by the unattractive village car park. A short walk up the Main Street will lead you past 15th Century cottages, the small but beautiful National Trust Headland, Anglo Saxon Chapel and the always rewarding views across the Bay. We didn't have much time but loved it. Certainly a place to return to on a warm day, maybe when the village pub has completely what looks to be one of the most extensive refurbishments ever!

So, a lovely trip. 3 walks. No stiles. Lots of places to sit and watch the world go by and the odd place to let your dog run free thrown in. Who says senior years can't be exciting?

Sunday, December 04, 2016

A quick up and down on Pendle Hill

For the past few weekends I've admired Pendle Hill from afar, wondering if we would make it up there again. Our usual route from the nic of Pendle is at least 6 miles, albeit relatively gentle. I think that's pushing it for our dog these days so took a look at the map and decided to opt for the quick up and down from the road above Barley.

There was plenty of roadside parking and we followed the road past farms to the obvious diagonal track leading up to Big End. The path couldn't be better, stone paved all the way but steep! We gained height quickly, although not as quick as two chaps who said it took them 11 minutes from bottom to top! A short stroll with fantastic views led us to the summit. We descended the same way and the round trip for us was maybe 1.5 hours with plenty of stops. I imagine the walk is doable in an hour or so walking if you're quick. It's only a couple of miles, but steep!

It was wonderful to be back on the top of Pendle Hill after all this time but I think such a steep climb is now best left to the younger generation of dogs. For us, it's now time to start seeking out some flatter but inspiring walks. We will no doubt still manage the walk from the Nic on a leisurely day, but perhaps I need some nice gentle flatter walks on my list.

I'm thinking we must return to Dunsop Bridge and the road up the valley one day. Perhaps Stocks Reservoir is still an option on a fine leisurely day. I will probably also start to explore more of the Leeds Liverpool Canal. All ideas for more gentle but inspiring walks welcome.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Neosporosis - Did you know the consequences of not picking up in the countryside?

A short video that gets the message across, even if not in English. If any creative types could do an English version I'm sure it would be helpful. Watch and learn. You could prevent a calf from being aborted and a dairy herd from devastation.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

10 years of blogging - back to where it started

I love it when the clocks go back. Most people probably dream of their extra hour in bed, curled up and warm as toast, thinking of dark nights ahead. For me, and I expect for millions of dog owners around the world, it's a time when it becomes most obvious that our world, revolving around GMT and BST, is somewhat artificial.  The dog never realises the clocks have gone back, so we tend to get woken at the usual time, it's just that the usual time tends to be about 5am GMT.

That extra hour is precious, a chance to get up and out early, for another Autumn walk together.  And so it was, 10 years after our first visit to Malham together, that we headed off to retrace our steps on the first walk that I ever blogged.

10 years ago I remember it was still dark when we reached the National Park Visitor Cemtre. We were a little later this time, but it was still quiet.  We had the walk to Malham Cove pretty much to ourselves before heading up the steep path to the Limestone Pavement.  This was probably the toughest climb since our dog's cruciate operation earlier in the year, but he coped fine, dragging me onwards and upwards, with a few enforced rest stops whilst I enjoyed the magnificent views.

Soon we were trecking on good paths towards Malham Tarn.  Our route avoided the busy track, heading straight up from the top of Malham Cove.  This bought us some solitude, but also several high stiles, involving lifting the dog some 5 feet in the air, squeezing past whilst both perched on the small wooden platform, and a further lift down to solid ground.  As expected, I was covered in mid by the time we reached Malham Tarn and a stop for something to eat.

As with our last visit we avoided the descent down Gordale Scar by talking the road for a mile or so back towards Malham.  This time though we found a path leading to the foot of the scar, before passing the picturesque Janet's Foss.

A gentle stroll led us back to the car park in Malham, happy that we had managed to celebrate our 10th anniversary walk in style.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Dog friendly Cornwall

Cornwall is great for dogs and our holiday destination of choice. Five months after our springer's cruciate surgery and pretty much free of exercise restrictions we headed off back to our favourite county for a couple of weeks of sun, sea and sand.

 On this occasion we had a two centre holiday. Our first week was at Westaway Cottage in Charlestown. This lovely cottage is right in the heart of Charlestown, two minutes walk from the harbour, made famous as a filming location for Poldark and (for those who are older) The Eagle Has Landed. The cottage was well kitted out and also has the benefit of an enclosed garden. It was a real sun trap in the afternoon so we enjoyed a few afternoons sat out with a glass of wine whilst the dog sunbathed on the grass.

Early morning dog walks here are lovely. We didn't go too far, either up the cliff path towards Carlyon Bay or just wandered round the harbour itself, watching the sun rise. Sadly the beaches are off limits for dogs but it didn't spoil our time. There are plenty of places, such as the wonderful Porthluney Beach at Caerhayes, which welcome dogs all year round.

If you get the right weather there are several good places to eat with your dog in Charlestown. Our favourite this time was sat out in the garden at Charlie's Boathouse. Dining here is relaxed with an good menu of beautifully presented classic dishes, a wide choice of beers and wines as well as cocktails. Sadly dogs are not allowed inside, so if the weather is less kind the Rashleigh, opposite, is the better option. The food here is also very good!

Our second week was pretty amazing, in the new Dutch Barn at Pencuke Farm Holidays in North Cornwall, not far from Boscastle. This huge barn can be configured for couples or those in larger family groups. As there were only two of us an the dog we rattled around the huge open plan living area a little, but it was wonderful. Huge sliding doors open out on to a large decking area, complete with hot tub and a grass 'terrace'. The dog was very much at home here and we loved wandering around the farm as our morning walk. Best of all, there are plenty of dog friendly beaches within a short drive, so he had plenty of opportunity to run free, making the most of his new titanium addition to his leg. Our accommodation was booked through Cornwalls Cottages.

Hard to imagine how lame he was only a few months ago!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

4 months after TTA surgery

Every day gets better. Running practice now in full swing. Not overdoing it and no chasing balls or playing with other dogs as I don't want to put too much strain on any legs!