Over the last couple of days Biggles has had a chesty cough, and this morning he was really off color: weak, shivering, breathing fast and shallow and not particularly interested in food.
Earlier in the week Beanie had been uncharacteristically lethargic, and Biggles had appeared genuinely concerned about her, staying close but not trying to engage her in play. She quickly threw off whatever had been troubling her, but this morning she didn’t feel any need to return Biggles’ gentle treatment. Instead, she just tried to eat his breakfast. Actually that’s probably fair enough since most mealtimes we have to stand guard over Beanie’s bowl, ready to repulse Biggles’ lightning fast raids on her kibble.
Anyway we took our little boy to the vet suspecting kennel cough, but apparently it didn’t quite fit the bill. The treatment was pretty much the same though: an anti-inflammatory and a course of antibiotics to fight the infection and bring down his high temperature. Within an hour of treatment Biggles was more like his old self and got so excited about his breakfast he left a little trail of pee en route to his bowl. It was great to see him back on his feet, but he had to miss the hilight of the day: another trip to Allers Farm for a Glasgow Dog Training Club pool party.
This was the second pool party Susan has organized for the club, and this time around the dogs were in the pool in pairs for 20 minutes each. Beanie was quite eager as she waited for her turn..
..but as usual her enthusiasm waned once her harness was on. To help restore it we had a plentiful supply of sausages and a secret weapon – a tennis ball with a slit cut into it.
I’ve been using this in the park – loaded with tasty treats – to try to get Beanie more interested in ball games. It’s been working well, and it proved even better as a target for agility practice when we had another session at the barn earlier this week. With a sausage placed half way into the ball Beanie got a target to chase, an immediate reward for completing the circuit (the bit of sausage hanging outside the ball) and an incentive to stay put until we arrived to liberate the remaining piece of sausage from inside the ball. Could the slit tennis ball also get Beanie playing in the swimming pool?
Absolutely! She seemed to forget that she was in the water, and went sprinting after the ball every time it was thrown. Not once did she look bored or try to exit the pool to raid the treat bag. Whenever she caught the ball, she got a little taste of sausage with the promise of more once she dropped it in Susan’s hand.
There were some near disasters though; a couple of times the ball took on too much water and sank leaving a distraught, sausageless Beanie circling the pool and giving serious consideration to diving down after it. Fortunately Jennifer, the resident hydrotherapist, always came to the rescue with her pole-mounted fishing net.
When the session ended Beanie almost needed to be dragged out of the pool and seemed keen to get back in there even after I’d dried her off with a towel. I think we’ve finally got a way to combine all the health benefits of swimming with the fun of a run in the park!