Bootie-free zone (but still bonkered)

Ten days after his op Biggles finally ditched that huge wad of dressing and bandage on his foot, and best of all this didn’t happen because we left him unattended for too long – it was removed carefully by the vet. The initial joy of having his foot released from its crepe prison was quickly dampened by the return of the lampshade; he was desperate to give the wound a good licking and we were under strict instructions to prevent it. I’ve taken to referring to the lampshade as his “Bonker” because he still hasn’t learned to make allowances for the dramatic increase in the size of his head.

5D4_3653

The Bonker is back on and my boy’s not happy about it..

5D4_3664

..but that foot has to be protected from the licking machine that’s attached to it!

Biggles may not have been thrilled about the lampshade, but he was happy to be allowed out into the garden and on longer walks without first having a poo bag tied around his foot and his silver bootie fitted on top of that. I have to admit I was also getting really tired of all that rigmarole towards the end. At first I kind of enjoyed doing up his velcro “shoelaces” every time he went outside, but trying to get him to hold still enough to remove everything on re-entry was  a challenge to the say the least, and the whole thing got old pretty quickly.

5D4_3686

5D4_3676

I love the smell of Biggles’ feet and it seems he does too

Thanks to all the special treatment Biggles received during his convalescence I suspect he feels that his position in the pack has been upgraded; certainly he’s been confidently taking the lead on walks, claiming the best sofa positions and demanding play sessions. We were a bit worried that Beanie’s sniffer might get put of joint because of all this, but she’s taken it well – if anything it’s made her a bit more cuddly.

5D4_3657

5D4_3662

Beanie lures me into a play session with her new squeaky raccoon (which is now in two pieces, just like her old one)

A final check of his foot is due later this week, but it’s looking better each day and on the strength of that I’m gradually building The Bigglet back up to full length walks. This morning we all went for a gentle jog on the grass together at the beach park and he absolutely loved it, taking pole position almost the whole time and nearly yanking my arm out of its socket when we went up hilly bits. He’s obviously feeling like he’s back to 100% and by the time his final checkup his done, I think he really will be.  On top of this, we’ve had the results back from the lab and his growth was benign. For those who are interested, the lump was identified as a “fibroadnexal hamartoma” (related to hair follicles / glands) and removal really was the best course of action; it was growing rapidly and increasingly becoming inflamed by contact with grass and sand as he was running about.

The Curse of The Nice Lady

Way back when Biggles wasn’t as biggly as he is now, he went to visit the vet and met a very nice lady who took him into the deeper recesses of the practice and promised him treats and cuddles. At some point during that adventure he got very sleepy, and when he woke up he had a big lampshade on his head and his pocket billiards set was missing two balls.

On Monday, he visited the vet again, and met a different but equally nice lady who promised him lots of cuddles and tummy tickles. She didn’t mention treats, but he’d already spotted boxes of Pedigree biccies in the waiting room so he figured they’d be part of the deal, or at least he’d be in with a chance of nabbing one of the boxes. The lady took him into the depths of the practice where normal visitors don’t get to go, and suddenly he felt very sleepy. When he woke up, there was a moderately sized lampshade on his head and his foot had huge bandage on it with a big letter “B” and a love heart.

5D4_3611

5D4_3617

It’s not like Biggles to fall for the same trick twice (really it isn’t – he’s much smarter than Beanie in this respect) but that’s exactly what happened. This time around he didn’t lose more items from his pocket billiards set, but he did have the nasty looking growth removed from his foot. The operation went to plan and the vet managed to sew up the void quite well – not an easy task given the lack of loose skin on the side of the foot – but we’re still looking at 10 days or so of severely restricted activity and bandage guarding.

Immediately after his op The Bigglet was quite easy to manage; he was still woozy from his meds, and his attempts at walking with that big lump of bandage on his foot were highly amusing (think of a toddler who didn’t quite make it to the toilet in time and you’ll get the idea).

5D4_3624

Today however he’s wide awake, bored, and determined to get that blummin’ itchy bandage off his tootsie. The lampshade collar provided by the vet has already proved too shallow to prevent access to his foot, so I’ve swapped it for a much larger one we had left over from a previous misadventure, but even this can be defeated if he pushes it into the floor and contorts himself just right. To help beat the boredom and give him a break from the collar I dished out filled bones, but even here Biggles almost got the better of me; he feigned unbreakable interest in his bone while I was obviously watching him, then snook in a couple of exploratory licks and chomps at his foot. Fortunately I remembered how he’d done a similar thing as a pup (chewing table legs in the kitchen while apparently playing with a toy) and was still monitoring him out of the corner of my eye. Once I let him know the game was up, he became genuinely immersed in his bone.

5D4_3646

At night he won’t fit in his crate with his collar on, and he can’t be trusted on his own, so we’ve made up one of our camping air beds in a spare room and he gets to sleep next to me on that. It’s cuddly and comfortable until I get side-swiped by the collar as he turns round, dragging me back into a fully awake state. Happily my life as a computer geek has given me the ability to function while sleep-deprived so I can handle that; I’m more bothered by the wait for the lab results on the growth – I’m really hoping it’ll turn out to be benign.

Biggles’ 10th Birthday

5D4_3562

It’s that time of year when Biggles temporarily catches up with Beanie age-wise: he’s now 10 years old too. Considering how he is now, it’s easy to forget what a handful he was as a pup. The first time we saw him in the flesh he was out cold, having thoroughly exhausted himself by warbling and wailing non-stop in his breeders’ car. His first outing with us was in a purpose-made puppy carry bag, and all I can remember about that walk was struggling to hold the bag while he tried to bust his way out of it, and the noise. Especially the noise. For years it was impossible to walk in a group and have anybody get out in front of him, because if they did the consequences would be loud and long-lasting. His uncontrollable outbursts even got us thrown out of a dog-friendly cafe in the Lake District – a region renowned for its tolerance for four legged visitors. Then there was the sock hoarding; even as a pup he recognized the value of socks, and any attempt to get them back off him was met with a growly response.

IMG_1184

These days he’s a joy to live with. Woofy outbursts no longer happen unless there’s a legitimate reason, although The Bigglet’s’ idea of “legitimate” sometimes differs from mine. Certainly I’ve never felt the urge to alert the whole neighborhood when I’m about to have my dinner, and I never hurl insults at the postie, but I think we’re pretty much on the same page when it comes to Poodles with silly fur-dos. He still has an obsession with socks but now he’s more than willing to swap them for a biccie, as per the terms of the Biggles Sock Exchange Program. On hill walks, he’s the ultimate path-finding guide, but perhaps the best thing about him is that he’s a snuggle machine; you can always count on a really soppy cuddle from his lordship.

DSC_0186

We wanted to make his 10th birthday as enjoyable as possible, and I think we did pretty well. It started with a short walk, quickly followed by breakfast served in snuffle-mats. This was followed by a substantial piece of a 24-inch long tripe stick which went down particularly well – so well in fact that even my camera’s state of the art focus system couldn’t keep up with him as he grabbed the tripe stick from hand.

5D4_3500

Biggles focuses on the tripe stick as I focus on him

5D4_3502

but there’s no keeping up with him as he lunges for the tripe!

5D4_3506

On this occasion, Beanie has slightly better manners

The longer afternoon walk took us by freshly ripened blackberries and though I offered to hand-select the best ones, Biggles demonstrated his experience and maturity by going for the self-service option.

Blackberry Picking Beagle [5D4_3430]

Then came the pressies! Biggles has toys coming out of his big floppy ears but none of them can compete with his favorite eight-squeakered monkey, so we got him something he really would appreciate: a new bed for the lounge, complete with firm, fur-lined sides that act as the perfect chin rest.

5D4_3520

5D4_3515

As tradition demands Beanie got an unbirthday present too. In her case a fresh toy was definitely on the cards; her “indestructable” tuggable fox is in urgent need of stitching, and her other favorite – a stuffing free squeaky raccoon – has been in two pieces for some time. The delivery of a fresh intact raccoon was highly appreciated, though I’ve a feeling it may not last long, because popping stitches were heard after the first tug.

5D4_3531

To top things off, the pups got a to share a freshly baked sardine birthday cake lovingly prepared by their mum. Obviously I took the candle out before serving it to them, but still they both nearly choked as they tried to swallow the cake without chewing, as is customary in our house.

5D4_3563

All in all a great day for the pups, but unfortunately it was overshadowed for us when Biggles rolled onto his back and proudly showed us his wares. There was nothing wrong with his naughty bits – they’re as furry and easy on the eye as they’ve ever been – but we noticed that the lump on his foot was inflamed and appeared to have grown slightly. We took him to the vets again the following day, and he’s now booked in for an op to remove the lump early next week. I’m very hopeful that whatever the lump is, it won’t turn out to be anything nasty; if it does, the vet says Biggles may need to have the affected toe removed. Fingers crossed for my poor little boy!