Monday, 25 September 2017


Solar went onto the operating table last week to have a lump removed from the back of his neck.

The reason for the trip to the vets was, Solar was due his booster injections, but before doing so we elected for a "Titre test" this test would show his immunity levels and determine what vaccinations would be required.

Solar has had matted/tangled fur build up in parts of his coat, we had managed to rid most of them but we discovered a small lump, about the size of a pea. On a previous visit to the vets they took a sample of the fluid from within.

As Solar is very excitable he was booked in to have the lump removed, have a blood test and the removal of a facial tick.

Tick near Solar's eye

It was a huge shock to collect Solar, shaved neck far greater than expected. The scar which we thought would be a routine incision and clean out was significantly longer.

We are no strangers to caring for our dogs, but this we were not expecting. It was a case of ensuring he was quiet comfortable and cared for. Pain relief was the order of the day, without any additional medication.

The vet informed us that the reason things had changed, were the suspected cyst was larger than expected and did not behave as one would expect from a simple follicle cyst.

Tonight we received a call regarding the results of the biopsy report, it was a benign tumor classified as "Trichoepithelioma" they can appear in many places at any age. This may be the only one Solar will have in his life or he may have one again at some point in his life.

Resting at home after his operation.

Whilst the news is good that the tumor is benign, it shows the importance of grooming and handling your dog or any other pet.

Resting on the healing sofa

Opening healing nicely and fur returning

So you would think he has a had a bit of a time of it, he has had "shaving rash" and a second tick removed, this one by Sue while I kept the eyes and teeth focused. Mind you he is a wriggler.

Solar should only go out on a lead and not play with other dogs. His stitches are to be removed after 14 days, which will be an interesting challenge.

Tonight Sue collected me from work with Solar in the car, so I took him into our works office, he was very excitable and loud, think they were pleased to see us leave so that peace could return.

He has been a good patient, at the moment very little attempts to scratch the stitched area, this morning we had to put a bandana over the wound to take him out in the rain. We are hoping that not covering the wound will help speed up the healing of the tissue.

More news to follow on his condition soon..............

Friday, 22 September 2017

Thursday, 31 August 2017


Solar has today been to the vets.

We have done this visit different to previous visits, today Sue took Solar to the vets on her own.

Solar barked on arrival, and as usual liked to announce his presence, the purpose of today was to have a Titre test to check to see what levels of immunity he has, or is lacking.

We have chosen this to avoid over inoculation and because we have elected not to just blindly have boosters injected without just cause. There are many horror stories out there and we will do our best o ensure Solar is not another.

As Solar is a bit bouncy and vocal, it was decided it would be safer for the veterinary staff if he was muzzled.  They took him and successfully managed to shave his leg and take the necessary blood sample, check a lump/cyst on the back of his neck and put cream in his left eye, which has been continually discharging every day.

When they returned him back he was without his muzzle, he was then weighed 36.5 kg a weight which has maintained for the last few months.

They took a sample of the cyst to check it out, and along with the results of the Titre test we will know more in two weeks, in the meantime we have some cream for his eye, a mild case of conjunctivitous .

Solar had his usual swim last night, followed by shower, blow dry and spray....

Tomorrow we head off to Cumbria, Solar's first holiday at the Lake District, the place we are staying at does not have wi-fi so there will be no further updates until we return.

While we are away we hope that Solar will get to meet Margaret and Cito, a german Shepherd who live close by.

Also a chance to meet up again with Molly the Golden Retriever, who will have travelled there also on her holiday. Molly and Solar have meet a few times now, they get on really well. They last met up at Queen Elizabeth Country Park.

Below is an early meeting where Molly was encouraging Solar to swim off the Isle of Wight.

We will look forward to sharing Solar's adventures upon our return, but for those that would like to follow sooner, check out his timeline on twitter as SolartheGSD

Monday, 28 August 2017

End of August 2017

So as we approach the end of August 2017 Solar will soon be going off on a new adventure.

At the end of the week we will be travelling to the Lake District in the North of England for Solar's second holiday this year. His first holiday in April was to Scotland where, a few weeks before travelling he became lame with suspected ACL, meaning it was in the balance whether we went away or not, we travelled the 650+ miles but walks and stair climbing were severely restricted.

Solar out and about in Scotland in April

Although there have been few posts, most of Solar's life has been shared on a daily basis on twitter, where he shares his adventures, mainly in image form as "SolartheGSD"

Solar is not a quiet traveller, so much so we have tried numerous tactics, the most expensive being the exchange of Sue's Renault Clio for a Citroen Berlingo, affectionately known as the "Solarmobile"

Solar still gets very excited and can be heard as we drive along, dog barking and loud CD !!

Solar remains raw fed, and a varying degree of treats, some a little more unusual raw turkey neck, beef pipe and fish to name but a few.

Swimming is an exercise he enjoys, where possible once a week....

although take him to the beach, he only wants to bark at the waves and chase stones, no interest at all with swimming.

Solar is very social creature, he often meets other dogs in the local park or while out and about, some small dogs have an issue with him, but generally he is well accepted for a play by other dogs.

He has spent time playing and chasing off lead in the local park, but because of his high chase instinct and being very focused on moving cars, it has to be well away from any exits.

Solar has a had a couple of "Play dates" with a Staffy named Daisy, they really do have a great time in the safe enclosure of K9 Pleasure Park just a few miles down the road from us.

Solar is a cheeky, fun loving, adventurous, playful and wilful dog who likes nothing better than enjoying action adventure meeting and greeting.

We will soon find out what he makes of these over the next few weeks.....

Herdwick Sheep; Resident of most of the Lake District

Thursday, 13 April 2017

10 months old

Incredible, but Solar is now 10 months old and boy does he have a lot of character.

When weighed at the vets last week, Solar is now 37 kg; next to the weighing scales it reads an adult Male German Shepherds ideal weight is 36.6 kg. (One of his Sisters weighs 38 kg)

Solar was at the vets after having an injury to his cruciate ligament of his left hind knee, which meant he was limping and crying pitifully with the pain last week. He is currently on pain relief and strict rest, try telling a 10 month old German Shepherd puppy that !!!

Fortunately Solar is crate trained and follows what we say 90% of the time. He needs to avoid running, jumping climbing stairs and exercise is limited to five minutes at a time this must be the norm for another five weeks, two of which we will be in the Highlands of Scotland. We did consider cancelling the holiday, but Solar has been good to now and we feel sure he will cope well.

Solar is growing to be a very good looking intelligent dog, certainly not a wall flower, he loves to be heard, not aggressive but "Hello look at me" we met up with Molly the Goldie, Mark and Steph at Queen Elizabeth Country Park, where Solar began barking at 11:00 am when we arrived and only stopped at 16:00 hours, when we were leaving.

Training is now on hold due to the knee injury, which we hope to resume after his rest period, fingers crossed that surgery will not be required.

Solar remains raw fed, he had a knuckle one day (see the top picture), not the easiest of things to eat and certainly not for indoor snacks. His brother who is a trainee Police Dog is not allowed to be raw fed.

It has been a while since his last update, further updates on his condition and progression will follow with a bit more regularity.

Not sure where it stems from but Solar has a thing about birds, they should not land, anywhere, if they do he has taken on the role of moving them on, our garden bird table has had no visitors since Solar began his patrol. 

Planes or birds that fly overhead, are watched until they have safely passed over, some people say dogs don't look up, well Solar certainly does.

For now here are a few images of Solar, but you can also check out his random gallery page.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

26 Kg and growing

Solar now weighs 26 kilograms, and remains slim and trim.

The bout of illness seems to be in the past, although we heard this week his brother "Ash" lost nearly 5 kilo's over a two week period, as far as we know, none of his sisters were affected, so it remains no more than a coincidence.

Solar continues to do well at puppy training, where he has only one session remaining this year.
The training has helped, us o find ways of working with Solar, although he picks and chooses which commands he does follow, and sometimes at lightening speed, at other times you would not need a second hand on your stopwatch...

Solar has continued yo meet and greet many dogs in the local park, he has good social skills around other dogs, sometimes very much in their face looking for a reaction to play, being gentle to submissive dogs, and accepting when told to back off and give them some space, all with intervention from us.

Yesterday in the park he met Beau, an 11th month old German Shepherd, she was only interested in her ball, but the Weimaraner he meet at Natural Instincts wanted her own space and warned him off, he was comfortable with both.

Solar is beginning to realise that sofa's are no longer an obstacle, the ease in which he ascends them has surprised us all. It is a game at the moment, so we are trying to ignore and distract.

Our biggest challenge remains road walking and traffic; Solar wants to lunge and chase every car he sees, we are working on it, but as he is getting bigger and stronger it is becoming a harder challenge. We have decided to invest in a "Dogmatic" head collar. Which we will review in a future blog.

Watching television is now becoming a challenge, random images or sounds sends Solar charging across the room to bark at the TV, however now he is taller when he puts his paws on the screen, the television teeters on the point of falling over.

Like many German Shepherd pups, Solar likes to dig and rake, not fussy if it is in the garden or the lounge carpet, he certainly keeps you on your toes.

Solar enjoyed a runaround in the park this morning, and the hard frost meant he did not get too muddy....

Sue got Solar a new outfit for Christmas,
though I think it might not fit after he has had his lunchtime turkey.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Growing or not growing;

This week based on episodes previously encountered at our Vet's, we have made further enquiries into possible other practices.

There was more than one to choose from, and our main concern was a vet that understood and accepted raw feeding of dogs. So we have signed Solar up with a new practice, the only down side is the emergency vet is based a couple of miles away, but then anyone who has ever visited Reading town Centre will know the challenges crossing town during the daytime, a journey that should be less than 10 minutes could end up being significantly longer.

We are very pleased to report that Solar has just began eating his raw food from Natural Instincts once more. A mixture of "Puppy" and "Working Dog Puppy"

To err on the side of caution we purchased ZooLac Propaste for any times when an upset tummy needs a little assistance.

The vets comment recently about Solar being out of proportion, has astounded everyone that it has been repeated to, only having had one Shepherd before our comparison of Solar against "Blue" would certainly make Solar much smaller on an age by age basis, but in fairness Blue was always referred to as a big dog, weighing in at 50kg as a fully grown adult German Shepherd.

Checking on various web sites, Solar is average for weight and wither (height to the top of the shoulder blades), and in direct comparison to his siblings.
However after any gastro illness in a puppy, it is important to restore the lost nutrients and fuel used to aid growing. Solar's breeder was astounded by the Vet's question, "did you see the Mother and Father" we did see the mother but not the father in person, but the images we see he is an impressive dog.
Before the recent episode we discussed how much food to give Solar and discussed with the breeder, Michelle, how gave sound advice

  • If you can see their ribs; they are underfed
  • If you cant see their ribs but can feel them, they are within a good range
  • If you can neither see or feel their ribs, they are overweight
Charts offered by food suppliers are normally based on averages, you should know what your dog needs and gets.

Before we collected Solar, he had acquired a nickname of "Dora the explorer" as he always seemed keen to explore beyond the permitted boundaries.

"Dora" became "Houdini" yesterday, we drove to pick up some of the Zoolac Propaste, from Camberley, Sue went into the shop, while I stayed in the car park opposite

Solar was being very vocal, so I thought I would get him out of the car, and play in the car park, while Sue was in the shop.
As I lifted Solar out, and set him down, his clasp came off his collar, he was free. A look of surprise on his fast was replaced with the site of him running off towards the shop. A couple heard my shouting "Solar" as he got to them he thought oh where am I? and at the sound of my call he came back across the car park very excited, just as I touched his collar, he went off in the same direction once more, and with a slightly higher pitched recall, he came back across the car park, where this time I was able to secure his lead to his collar. Breathing a sigh of relief and a wave of acknowledgement across the car park to let them know Solar and I were now fine and attached.

While we waited for Sue to return, we played a game of tug with his free "Amazon toy" remember this 

We greeted Sue as she returned, oblivious to the drama, saying 

"I knew you had him out of the car, I could hear him barking, now I know why it was so clear".
Sue ironically had done off lead, puppy recall on Friday night, and clever Solar knew what to do then and more importantly today. 

Our major concern is Solar is obsessed with trying to chase cars, so we are more concerned how easily he became detached, so have agreed to put a carabiner on his lead while out near traffic or in the car.

Puppy Training
After missing a week, Solar returned after his enforced lay off, and picked up from where he left off.

Solar and Sue are forming a real bond and working very well as a team, at the moment Sue is saying her fingers feel very sore because Solar's teeth are razor sharp and are not fussy or delicate when it comes to taking treats.


A quick play in the park on Saturday morning

See also more pictures on his Random Gallery in the menu at the top of this blog