Category Archives: Puppy Diary

Am I a Mother?

Am I a Mother?

Not for the first time, I’ve seen comments on social media saying “It really annoys me when dog owners call themselves parents”. Ouch. That stings. I DO consider myself a Mother to my Watson, and let me tell you why – I don’t have human children of my own, but I did and have always had a huge maternal instinct and nurturing love to give. Since Watson came into my life, that instinct has been given a purpose and I have become what I believe a Mother is – more selfless, putting my dependent before myself, and experiencing a love that you can’t even imagine until you have it. Strong doesn’t cover it. Unconditional, and all consuming is getting close. 
 
 
I’m not saying that being a doggy mama is the same as it is with a human child, of course not. I can only assume that is why people are annoyed. Do they think I’m saying its the same amount of work? I’m not. I have had 2.5 mothers in my life (long story) and I can tell you that the word “Mother” doesn’t have one definition – mothers come in all shapes and sizes. What I AM saying, is that I feel like a mother, and I’m driven to act in the way that mothers should, so why can I not call myself as such? I’m also saying that there are a lot of similarities. Lets look at some examples:
 
1. My husband and I are solely responsible for Watson’s welfare, and he is 100% dependent on us. Its down to us to provide for him and have enough money to fulfil his needs of food, toys, walks, medication, beds etc. It is up to us to give him the mental stimulation and exercise he needs and do what it takes to make his life happy. Its our responsibility to make sure he knows how to behave politely in public and also give him the skills to be independent and not shy or fearful. Sound familiar? We spend approximately £400 a month on Watson, mostly because of his complex needs but that’s ok because its what parents do. Just saying. 
 
2. He can’t tell us what’s wrong (this is of course only a parallel with a baby/toddler). When he is in pain, or feeling down, or just having a bad day, we have to try and guess whats wrong. Or use Google. 
 
3. We had a week of sleepless nights when we brought him home, and of course that is less than with a human baby (how do you do it?!) but it progressed to waking up at 5am which at the time felt blissful compared to what had come before. I have never felt so tired in my life, since the daytime was a blur of toilet training which involves going outside every 40 minutes, plus after every nap and playtime. In between which I had to clean up any accidents, play with him, walk him, train him, and try to hold down a job because there is no puppy mat leave. 
 
4. If I’m ill, it means nothing to Watson – he still needs to be fed, walked, and entertained. (If he is ill however, or needs to go to the vet, I can’t take sick leave because my dependent is ill, I just have to hope I have an understanding boss and make up the time later). 
 
5. He’s clumsy, and just like toddlers, prone to accidents. He’s had 2 or 3 so far, and they always lead to a debate of “should we let him off the lead” but of course its a fine balance as he needs some freedom. Just like with children, you need to work out how to protect them as much as you can whilst still giving them the freedom to enjoy their childhood. However, if my Watson has an accident, I can’t call 999 to come and help him – I have to pick him up regardless of his physical state, and carry him to the car or vet and then pay a minimum of £50/£200 (depending on if weekend) just to get him seen. I have done that very thing. Several times. #mother 
 
6. As with babies and children, there is controversial advice about EVERYTHING. Should they have their fur cut short or left long? To Vaccinate or not? Crate or not? Raw food or kibble? 3 walks a day or 2? Every area of their life that you comment on, will bring feedback, advices, and often criticism. 
 
7. My husband and I can’t remember the last time we had a conversation that wasn’t about Watson. Ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you know what I mean. Our conversations are dominated by him, and I’m told thats how it is from Day 1 of baby. 
 
I don’t think I need to go on – I’m sure you can see the similarities but of course there are huge differences also, with benefits and detriment on both sides. Watson will NEVER be able to tell me he loves me, or go to college, or any of that good stuff. In fact he’ll never leave home. My £400 a month 24/7 care, is a commitment of 15 or so years, and the saddest difference is that I’m pretty sure that I will out live him – it breaks my heart even typing it. 
 
Who else in your life do you share your house with, your bathroom, your most intimate and vulnerable moments other than your spouse? I am with Watson every day, and only apart from him when he is with the walker and on my occasional “Mummy’s day off” when I have cocktails with my friend and spend the whole time talking about our boys (Yep, she is a Mother too, to the furry kind of dependent, Watson’s “Cousin”). Watson watches me bath (cause he knows a treat is sometimes forthcoming), and even joins me when I’m having a wee. He is the centre of our world and our weekend plans begin and end with Watson. 
 
Thankfully I do have friends and acquaintances that are parents to both human children and dogs, and consider themselves a parent to them both. I’ve even been told by one mother than raising her son was easier than raising her puppy. Not my words, don’t shoot the messenger!
 
My final thought is simply that I’m just loving on my dog, and he gives me purpose in life. If that’s “annoying”, so be it. I’m doing no harm. I can only assume those people that are offended, haven’t had the honour and joy of a pet in their life. 

Letter to My Watson – 2nd Birthday

To My Watson, 

watson-nearly-2

You are nearly 2 years old, and all grown up. I silently promised you that we’d have all your various health issues sorted by the time you turned 2, and I think we are making it by the skin of our teeth! There is still room for improvement of course, but at last you aren’t in as much pain and discomfort. There have certainly been many more vet visits in this last year – 30 visits in total since you came crashing into our lives, but I don’t regret a single penny or moment of time it took. 
 
I wrote to you when you turned 1, and told you how much you had taught me. I knew I had much more to learn, and most of all you have taught me to be selfless. When my joints ache, and I just want to crawl into bed, I instead get geared up and go off for a walk with my boy. Seeing your little tail wagging at the door as we leave makes it all worth it. Walks were never my favourite thing, but now I feel that I could walk for days with you – seeing how excited you are just to be walking up a hill is something that money simply can’t buy. 
 
You amaze me and others with your chilled out demeanour whilst still managing to have endless energy, and you are the perfect mix of goodness & mischief.  You have been described as a “gentleman” on more than one occasion which made us beam with pride. You won a rosette for obedience, and charmed everyone at your night class by being the class clown. We literally see smiles appearing on people’s faces everywhere we go when they see you. 
 
Some people believe me to be a Dog owner, but I know that you see me as your Mum, and I believe that this is what it feels like to be a mother. I wouldn’t change you for anyone or anything in the world. This years promise to you, is to look after you when you need me, and do everything in my power to make your life wonderful. I hope that one day we are in a position to welcome a brother or sister into our lives for you, but for now you have Mum and Dad all to yourself and we have you. When you lay your head on our foot/leg/knee, it is the most wonderful feeling in the world, and we are honoured that you show us such love and trust. 
 
Happy Birthday my baby boy! I can’t wait for our next year together :0) 
 
Mum xx

Puppy Getting Calmer & Maybe Cuddlier!

Watson March 2016We have seen a minor change in the cuddling situation over the past few days, and both hubby and I are beyond excited about that! I know that might sound silly, but cuddling is so important to me, and the whole reason I wanted a dog was to have a reason to sit and “do nothing” as such, just sit and stroke them and cuddle on them. However, Watson has never been interested till now. Its not a massive change, just small little head on legs for a few minutes type scenarios, but it gives us hope. Friends have told us they believe that dogs become more cuddly after the age of 2 anyway.

In addition to the cuddling change, there is some settling down. He is definitely sleeping a bit more during the day, and when awake is more happy to lie and chill, and not paw at me constantly for attention. We changed the times of his dog walker to 12pm and that is working out fabulously. Kev takes him 6.30am to 7.30am and then one of us takes him in the evening, and with those 3 spread out walks and more of a routine, he seems to be thriving.

I’m applying for jobs now and it will break my heart to not see my boy as much, but the up side is that I think he’ll love going to daycare every day, even if it does break the bank for us lol.

His health has been ok for just under a week, which doesn’t sound like much but in our world, that really is quite good. No bum troubles, no incidents, and he’s eating his kibble. Miracles do happen!

Poop Solution Finally?!

IMG_7636Ok, not great having poop in the title I know, but I feel like its all hubby and I have talked about since getting Watson! I have never been so happy to see a firm poop. As you know, Watson has had many health issues since we got him – allergies for which he’s on Immunotherapy, Anxiety, Chronic Colitis, and many other ailments. The vet basically told us it was up to us to find a food that worked for his colitis.

That has been an epic challenge, as Watson bear is SUPER fussy. I ordered approximately 20 samples of food from the internet from various places, and also bought many different types from pets at home. Watson wouldn’t go near any of them. The only thing he’d eat is Royal Canin adult. We decided that we’d continue to give him that, and concentrate on trying to fix his allergies, as we wondered if that was maybe causing his tummy problems as well as itching (though we did do a rule out 6 week diet of only pork & potatoes so its not a food allergy as such). We did figure out long ago that he has a sensitivity to chicken.

Chatting to my friend Jenni about her dog and one of Watson’s girlfriends Lola, she told me she was on “Royal Canin” for neutered dogs. I’d never heard of it, strange since Watson is neutered. She offered to give me some to see if he would eat it, but we didn’t hold out much hope. Hubby and I stood stunned as Watson gobbled it all up! At that point we said, “Imagine if tomorrow he has a firm poop”. Living the dream then lol. That’s exactly what happened!

Now, things have still been up and down but we know now its the immunotherapy – he’s had 3 injections and each time its really upset his tummy. He got antibiotics last week and they did nothing, and then further probiotics but they made it worse. We then finally got our order of that RC Neutered food and gave him some and things are on the up again. I can’t believe we finally finally have some hope :0)

The immunotherapy doesn’t seem to have caused as much itching this week as it did with the previous 2 injections, so there goes that theory lol. I can’t tell you how happy I am with this food situation though. I just want my little guy to have a shot at life being healthy!

Poorly Puppy Again :0(

Can you cope with how cute he is in this cap?! Hubby wasn’t amused lol. Watson Cap

Two weeks have passed since Watson’s first injection, and he had his second immunotherapy injection last week. Whist at the vet we explained that his itching had got much worse, as had his bum situation. They said they thought it was unrelated and sent us away with probiotics.

Me being me, I didn’t believe it, and emailed the specialist that he sees about his allergies, who said that it was definitely related. Typical! Anyway, the probiotics did bugger all for his bowels my poor baby. We were going to book him into the vet this morning, when voila, perfect poop lol. Anyhow, we’ve booked him in for tomorrow.

In other news, Kev now has a new job starting next week, which means a change of daycare is most likely required. This is a huge upheaval for my heart and nerves let me tell you. I want him home with me, I really do, but he needs other dogs company and more walking than I can imagine. The spreadsheet has already begun on options, and I’ve got my list of questions for the potential carers!

Puppy Immunotherapy starts today!

IMG_7849I love this photo of my little guy, but then again, I love pretty much all photos of him don’t I lol. Today is his first immunotherapy injection, and Kev is going to ask the vet to teach him how to do it ourselves at home. I know I’m not brave enough to do it myself, but if Kev learns and I watch him a few times, I might try. It saves us going to the vet surgery every fortnight for 8 months!

Apparently some dogs show an improvement immediately but others take a few months, but if there is no improvement by 8 months, then it simply doesn’t work for him. I’ve done pretty much everything I can for him in the house in terms of protecting against dust mites etc. The only thing left would be to put wooden floors down, get a leather suite, replace curtains etc, which is not financially on the cards just now.

Watson still has the same energy levels he always had, but I’m seeing glimmers of hope that as he ages he may slow down a little. The biggest challenge is the inconsistency. By that I mean that one day he can be sleepy and sleep for 3 hours after a walk, then chill out for an hour. Other days he is awake all day long, and the two days could be alike in so far as how much exercise and play time he gets.

I did do a doggy ADHD test on him which I think showed that he isn’t ADHD, but is just super active. My friends tell me that when he hits 2 years old he’ll start to slow down. Either that or my hair will start to go grey!

Pawsome Dog Box Review

I was pleasantly surprised to receive the January Pawsome Dog Box for review yesterday. You may remember I reviewed the Xmas box on my You Tube channel. Pawsome Xmas Box Review

Lets have a look at the goodies:

Munch Beef

This is a hard crunchy bar which would be great for dogs teeth. It is beef flavoured rawhide and a nice touch is that it has a built in gift tag on the back.

 

 

 

 

 

Dog Deli Tasty Chicken Wrapped Calcuim Bones 36041-500x500

These are a 100% winner with my Watson. The ones in the bag are by an Italian company but exactly the same as the ones in the picture. I keep these in my walking bag and even a rustle of the packet brings Watson back to me. There is no rawhide in them, but they do have added sugar.

 

 

 

Rope

The rope toy included in the box is really large, and I have to say that I think its a little too big for my Watson – I think that as I specified him as a small dog, this isn’t particularly suitable, but a big dog would love it!

 

 

 

 

8in1-minis-chicken-carrot-hunde-snack--10015310_B_P

A great little bag of treats combining chicken and carrots, along with rice. No added sugar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pig

I can guarantee Watson is going to love this toy – its got a long flexible neck and is the perfect soft toy for him to destroy :0)

 

 

Kepl

This is really interesting to me – lots of great ingredients, probiotics, Amino acids etc. I like to add something to Watson’s food that gives him a little extra – sometimes its an omega oil, sometimes probiotic, I mix it up so he gets a hit of different things. The only question will be, if he likes this in his food!

 

 

 

 

 

Another great box from Pawsome, I’m really impressed how much they can pack in for the money. You can get 25% off your first box with this code- blg9qxbk

1 Year Anniversary!

IMG_7946Can you believe our Watson has been with us a year now?! Its crazy how time passes by so quickly. Its been a difficult year for my little guy with his health, but I feel like we are edging towards the end of that journey and finally have some answers.

He had his second lot of allergy tests which confirmed that he is very allergic to dust mites, storage mites, and yeast. We got a stronger shampoo to use weekly, and a spray for in between times. He starts his immunology in 2 weeks, so hopefully that will work. Even if it doesn’t though, we are managing things and making it bearable for him I believe, he is no longer making his paws or bum bleed or inflamed.

I really do want to replace the carpets with wooden floors, and change the sofas to leather ones, but until at least Kev has a job, we can’t consider spending that kind of money. It would all help with Watson’s allergies though and also with the amount of time I spend cleaning lol.

I can’t tell you how in love with him I am. I honestly believe I couldn’t love a child more, and he is a child to me in the absence of real ones lol. He is slowly but surely teaching me how to be calm. When the phone rings, or the door goes, I have to walk slowly to it so he doesn’t run after me (I used to run myself!). Me being calm = him being calm and my plan for 2016 is to improve my zen like behaviour lol.

xx

 

Calmer Puppy – Routine works!

Watson RobeHere is my handsome little guy in the robe I made for him :0) I’m going to try and make and sell some, so if you are interested in one for your dog or as a present for a friend, get in touch and let me know what colour and we’ll talk sizes and prices and I’ll get on it!

Kev & I decided that what would help Watson greatly was a routine, as much as we could manage. I really do think that is helping him – it can’t always be exactly to the hour that things happen, but we are giving him 3 walks a day – 7am, 10am, and 5pm, and after each walk he gets a meal and then is expected to settle in his bed for at least an hour. Then at 2pm we give him a bone or a pizzle to play with and at 3pm we entertain him somehow – either training, playing, or grooming. This really does seem to have calmed him down a little bit and having Kev at home has helped dramatically. Kev doesn’t have that same guilt that I do when Kev is giving me that “Entertain me Mum I’m bored” look!

He is still itching but only mildly – we’ve managed to avoid giving him any medication for it for a while now. He gnaws slightly when he wakes up, but then seems to forget about it after his walks. His tummy is still up and down, but mostly ok. We have introduced a wet food in the evening because he was constantly digging holes in the mud and eating mud – someone told us that was because of missing nutrients and they asked if he was on kibble which he was. Apparently a little bit of wet food helps with that and it seems to be working, plus he loves it! Its the Natures menu pouch of food and we just mix half a pouch in with his adult Royal Canin. He still gets the puppy kibble in the morning and we are weighing him regularly to make sure he doesn’t get chubby lol.

He has his 6 monthly vet check up tomorrow and I’m pretty sure we’ll get a good report back :0)