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.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Puppy training classes near Preston

We plan to start new puppy training classes at Gregson Lane near Preston on Monday 29th September 2016. New entrants can be up to 20 weeks old. It's a very friendly environment and great for socialising your puppy and learning some of the basics to help you and your dog get the best from each other. 

Gregson Lane Dog Training Club is run entirely by volunteers who give up their time each Monday evening to help owners learn the basics of training, responsibility and care for their pet. Charges are low, to cover things like room hire and insurance, with £2 membership and then a weekly charge of £3 per dog. 

Once you have completed puppy training you can move on to more advanced levels, in our Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum classes, where you'll do exercises like off-lead heal work, 'stays' whilst you are out of sight. From time to time there are opportunities for you and your dog to take tests which will give you a chance to demonstrate success at each level. 

Puppy classes start at 6.30pm at Gregson Green Community Centre, which is next to the park in the centre of Gregson Lane. If you'd like to join please call Vickie on 07977 539560 before you come to have a look, or join a new class. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Is pet insurance worth it?

Over the life of our pet springer spaniel I estimate I've spent around £3000 on pet insurance.  This year, following his cruciate surgery, it's certainly made me reflect on the value of insurance to date and also on the value of future cover given the premiums, for a 10 year old dog, have risen to over £50 a month. 

On balance, insurance cover has been good for us. In his lifetime he has has had an operation to remove some benign lumps, various biopsies for a skin problem, antibiotics and of course his latest surgery, which for diagnosis and treatment cost the best part of £4000. 

Good insurance is pretty much a no brainier when put in that context!

There are 3 basic types of policy:

  1. Life cover– generally covers your dog for any illness throughout its life, up to a ‘maximum’ annual cost and you can claim to that amount every year. This is great for pets with ongoing conditions.
  2. Per condition –this provides cover ‘for life’ for each condition but only to a maximum total amount whenever that is reached.
  3. Annual cover– this will cover a ‘condition’ for the year in which first claimed but after that will be excluded from the policy
From our experience 'life cover' may be the most expensive but it has provided the best value. Taking his cruciate problem as an example, our life cover means that if his other leg were to go, we would still be covered, up to an annual limit. Without that cover, even though the problem was with a different leg, it would be considered part of the same condition and we would not be able to claim anything further. 

There are plenty of sites out there giving advice on the best insurance. Remember that as your dog gets older you are more likely to need to claim, so ask about policies which cover older dogs. Ours for example has a cost sharing element so in addition to our excess we pay 1/3 of the cost. If the cost of treatment runs in to thousands, you will still end up with a big bill, but it may make treatment which would otherwise be unaffordable  an option.

Owning a dog is certainly not cheap!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Getting back to good - 14 weeks after TTA surgery

It's been a good few weeks. We are finally starting to rediscover some of our old haunts. Of course we take it easy, a couple of miles is plenty, and he has only been off lead a couple of times. 

A day out in Cheshire meant we had an hour to two in Dunham Massey, always a lovely place to visit. The dogs on leads rule suits us fine!


After Dunham Massey we managed a short walk along Alderley Edge. It was great to see a view after months of short road walks. 


The highlight though has been a walk from Brinscall up the steep hill and path towards Great Hill.  Whilst we are a way off reaching the top we made one of our favourite moorland paths. Onwards and upwards!


Now 14 weeks post op he is getting back to good. The warning signs are there though. I made the mistake of letting him run free in the garden without a warmup a few days ago. After just 5 seconds he pulled up, raised his paw and lay down. Happily he was fine after a few minutes but the advice I read repeatedly that it takes 6 months or so for full recovery is probably good advice to listen to. 

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

12 weeks after TTA surgery

So today we hit the 12 week milestone. As we walk down the road it's hard to imagine that only a few months ago it was a struggle for him to walk for more than a few minutes, that stepping off a curb felt like a huge risk and that we were watching him like a hawk for all our waking hours. 

Plenty of people said to me back then that their dog had had cruciate surgery and made a good recovery. At the time though it feels pretty all consuming, to the extent that you wonder whether things will ever be the same again. It certainly makes you appreciate every walk you take!

Walking is now no issue. We can do a few miles no problem and he would happily walk further. He has the run of the house, although the sofa and bed are still out of bounds unsupervised. He's off lead in the garden without worry and I don't think it will be long before he's off lead on the park. Maybe he is past his ball chasing days though. At 10 years old I don't want the other cruciate going because he has overdone it too soon!

I'd say the operation has been well worth it. It's been a hard few months but we've got our boy back, and I suspect he feels that he's got his life back. 

Now it's just a case of continuing what we're doing to build strength. I'm sure we'll be back on the moors soon, albeit on easy going paths. Summer should be good!