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

Sunday, 20 November 2016

You know your dog

Solar  is now 20 weeks old, and has just gone through a health issue, which is still ongoing.

 Last Sunday we were awoken to Solar feeling poorly, retching but not being physically sick, enough to give us concern to contact the out of hours vet for a emergency visit in the small hours.

 This began a week of concern where we were to encounter prejudice, opinions more important than ours, along with lack of information and support, however that was mostly turned around yesterday.

When we got Solar to the emergency vets, he underwent an examination, at this time we were unaware of whether Solar had ingested something whole or had drank or eaten something, but it was evident it was an intestinal reaction.

His gums were pale, and he was in a lethargic cooperative state, not a bouncy twenty week old German Shepherd puppy.

 We agreed to blood tests being carried out, and the results would be known within 15 minutes. Off Solar trotted with the vet without a backward glance. The news was not good, Solar had high lactic levels of 6.9 where normal is 2.9, his blood was not generating oxygen sufficiently, he needed to be put on a drip to help his fluid levels, bordering on the edge of going into shock. More concerned for his welfare we agreed to pay the deposit required, which would also see Solar booked in and placed on a drip to induce fluids.We could do no more than leave him with the professionals to work their magic on this very poorly pup.

 We were to spend many hours, if not days wondering what could be the root cause, a hoof chew was missing, Solar had been swallowing sea water the week before, he had eaten cow poo, he loves to drink from puddles while out walking, we have a garden pond which he drinks from when seeking a reaction, and so the list goes on, in essence it could be any, some or none of the afore mentioned.

 Anxiously we awaited a call, but it was us that called them at 9.00am for an update, he was responding to the drip. A long story short we were to get updates through the day on his condition but it was evident that there was something wrong, yet to be identified and he had encountered a bout of diarrhoea. Solar had improved enough during the day to pull his catheter out, along with refusing any food offered, Sunday evening the vets decided that Solar should be collected Monday morning. We collected him as agreed and paid the bill of £1,200.00+ he was glad to see us, as we were him.

 Sue was to spend the next two days off work, booking annual leave at short notice, caring and watching over Solar, the diarrhoea was reducing, the food they had given us, Solar would not even touch. We were advised not to feed him his usual raw food diet, he ended up eating cooked chicken.

 There was still vomiting of food, and unhealthy stools, he was taking antibiotics to fight any infection and a probiotic paste to restore the healthy bacteria lost from his gut. Although there were signs of improvement, Solar had began to retch, where his stomach would be heaving and contracting, bringing up white frothy liquid not dissimilar to bile.

 In himself he was bright, playful and keen to eat his chicken, the concern was that every two hours he would bring up this fluid, so we made an appointment to visit our own vet on the Thursday.

Solar had a thorough check over and the Vet concluded that there was no longer any signs of swollen internal organs, but should be fed brown rice and chicken, as it could be hunger that was now an issue, raw food should be held off and re-introduced gradually as he improves, temperature was normal. Once again our decision not to have Lepto 4, immunisation against Weils disease was questioned, our information was based on evidence of other dogs suffering sometimes fatal episodes with a vaccine that can not cover all strains.

To our dismay and concern the retching returned Saturday morning, once again an appointment was made for later in the day. In the meantime trying to find out how much cooked chicken he should be given was nigh impossible to find out. We are still awaiting requested advise from Natural Instinct, phone not being answered, online request unanswered.

What made this retching different to previous days was it was spontaneous, and occurred while Solar was sleeping,  it was an involuntary act.

Once more outwardly Solar seemed full of energy, and the visit to the vets did not go well.

On arrival Solar was sparked into barking barking mode because of the traffic noise from the adjacent road, entering the veterinary reception it continued, efforts to weigh him were challenging, he was around 23.5 kilo's

Solar was so unruly, we had to take him outside due to the incessant barking, where the cars were going by and this got him even more vocal and agitated.

Eventually we were summoned to enter for our appointment, Solar had a temperature of 40.3 which the vet was concerned with. She said that even in an agitated state it was too high.

She was concerned he was raw fed, and stated that he looked out of proportion, German Shepherds are a breed prone to many afflictions etc etc. She also asked if we had seen the Mother and Father of Solar.

We were offered an injection to help with the retching, which would last for 12 hours, and if returned, should consult the emergency vet as we did last week. It was said also if this condition continued we should consider booking Solar in for more scans and tests, and the usual are you insured.

Sue said, yes we are insured, but it cost us money and should not be an excuse to charge for unnecessary treatments at costly rates, we have just spent over twelve hundred pounds to be no further forward with a diagnosis.

We were told to give him the equivalent of his original meals replaced with chicken and brown rice.

The Vet, who was a Locum, suggested we kept an eye on Solars temperature, by purchasing a rectal thermometer, Sue purchased one later in the day, but we have decided it is not a good thing to do, as neither of us are trained, and it has to remain in place for two minutes. We couldn't imagine for one moment Solar would stand there let us insert it, leave it in place for two minutes before removal.

We returned home, vowing to seek out another veterinary practice, now with a dog that is out of proportion, too low for his age, not knowing if equivalent food is by weight or volume etc etc.

Sue contacted the breeder to recount Solars condition and the prejudice encountered at the vets.
The breeder was horrified at the way Solar was being viewed and treated, to the point where she gave us some support and guidance how to move things forward.

Solar had met up with his sisters a few weeks previous, as the seven of them played he looked much as they did, size and proportion.

We are now feeding Solar raw chicken and bone mince, a handful at a time and an hour between snacks, the retching has stopped, the poo is still around a 5 out of 10 but he also seems brighter in himself.

There has been a lot to take in the last week, and we will always do what is best for Solar.

It is clear there is huge money invested and spent in the Veterinary practice, but in all walks of life there are chosen lifestyles that should be respected.

At the moment we are happy to challenge prejudice against raw food feeding, pre-conditions with German Shepherds and will share our experiences with others.

Solar stands ready to pounce while lining up with six sisters at a South London Park

Ava; Isla; Azyah; Ruby; Kira; Solar; Pepper

Thursday, 10 November 2016

A day trip to the Isle of Wight

Sunday 6th November 2016

This was to be a day to introduce some new experiences for Solar,  the biggest would be a Ferry ride to the Isle of Wight a special day for many reasons.

Our day started in the usual way, breakfast and business, we were to drive to Lymington for a 11:15 Ferry crossing to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight.

The journey was nice and peaceful after the initial excited barking, which every car journey begins with, Solar travels well in he car, which opens the door to many opportunities for a dog and their pet owners.

Booked in we patiently waited to board our ferry, "Wightlink" which was called "Wight Light".

We drove onto the ferry from lane 3, ours was not the last car on the ferry, but we were the last one to go on the "Garage deck", which s winched up by cables and hydraulics, to enable more vehicles to embark below.

You are not allowed to remain in your car, your pets can if you choose, can remain, or go with you.

It was always our plan to keep Solar with us, as we opened the back door of the car he began to bark, as we walked to the bow of the ship he continued to bark and pull on his lead, we were heading for the "Sun Deck" which meant a climb of four flights of stairs, Solar is no stranger to stairs, he goes up them everyday at home.

The sun deck wasn't too busy, Solar began to bark more excitedly, intoxicated with all the new smells and objects to sniff, it was good they had mesh across the deck rails, otherwise it was a bit of a drop into the harbour below.

Before we knew it, the ship was moving gently away from the quayside, the ship is essentially in two halves, as there were fewer people at the stern, we made our way aft.

All attempts to keep Solar from barking failed, treats, cuddles, voice commands even his favourite "hoof" was no match, the views won. Sailing out of the harbour Solar barked at everything that floated by, this did not deter other passengers coming over and asking all about him, he was taking everything in like a giant sponge, and telling anyone that would listen how excited he was.

In no time at all we were advised to return to our vehicles, Solar stood at the top of the stairs and stopped, dug his heels in, this little puppy was not sure about descending the stairs, with a little encouragement he began the descent, he was demonstrating his trust in Sue and me.

Back in the car, we waited our turn to disembark onto the quayside at Yarmouth, our destination now was a short drive to Freshwater Bay, to meet up with Molly, Steph and Mark. We come to know them through a chance encounter when attending Fitzpatrick Referrals Oncology and Soft Tissue Centre in Guildford. Sadly our dog Blue did not survive his cancer, but Molly is still attending and responding well to treatment.

At the prearranged meeting point we met and agreed to go to a place called Brightstone, where we could go for a walk on part of the "Wight Way" 

On first meeting Solar barked at Molly, but within a few minutes of us walking, Solar and Molly were soon off lead walking along like old friends, Steph and Mark were impressed at Solar's off lead walking, and how settled he was around Molly.

Solar had discovered "Cow Poo", so in order to distract him we played ball and jollied him up as we approached the cow pats. There is only one thing that goes with Cow poo, and that is cows, Sue was concerned but Mark and Steph said it is ok they are not known for venturing this far up normally.

As the walked progressed, it was great to see how contented Solar was, only needing to go back on lead if other dogs might be too much of a distraction.

Oh and do you remember the cows that don't normally ventured up onto the hill?

Well today they were there just for Sue.

Cows and dogs do not mix well, so we returned back from whence we came, our walk was already been about an hour.

We stopped at a car park along the Military Road to have our packed lunch en route to Shanklin

Shanklin by car is no more than 30+ minutes although it was a bit brisk, it was dry, and in no time at all we were on the beach, Molly and Solar both of lead, oh and you may have guessed Solar was barking with excitement.

Molly soon shared the art of digging, not sure Solar was as efficient as Molly, but he did enjoy it.

If you go to the seaside, you have to go for a dip; Molly lead Solar into the water but he was no match once more, he would bark at the water, and try to eat it, but the crashing waves were a bit off putting, though he did venture in a little way, he was happiest with his paws on the sand.

Molly reminded me of a Polar Bear as she swam contentedly in the water.

Molly swims as a tanker is anchored up on the horizon

Solar continues to play excitedly
Far too soon it was time to say goodbye, as our ferry was due to leave at 5:20, and vow to meet again.
When you are having fun the time flies by, but alas it was time to leave.

We exchanged some gifts, as Molly is soon to be 11 years old, we all had a gift to unwrap.

Sue & Solar Steph & Molly

We arrived back at Yarmouth 10 minutes after booking in time, and were the second to last vehicle onto the ship, thank you WightLink Staff for not making us wait for the next ferry.

We boarded the ferry and were parked on the main deck, our journey to the sun deck was 5 levels up, but Solar took every step in his stride. Up on the sundeck, it was dark, cold windy and raining, we soon returned inside to stand in the stairway.

Upon being advised to return to our vehicles, solar descended the five levels without hesitation, our remaining journey was a peaceful and incident free journey home nearly twelve hours after we set out.

This was a great experience for Solar and everyone had a really great time.

The link below is a Flickr album capturing our day out

Thanks for a great time Molly, Steph, Mark and all the people we met that helped our little puppy Solar have a wonderful day

Monday, 7 November 2016

An eventful 8 days

The more experiences a puppy gets, the more contented and socialised he becomes.

Solar has had an amazing eight days, that has seen him meet countless new friends, both 2 and 4 legged, met up with six of his sisters in a south London park, enjoyed a swim in Aquadoggies pool, puppy training, traveling by Ferry to the Isle of Wight and countless trips to the local park, visiting shops to get weighed and where ever he goes he is still welcomed by oh's and ar's.

There is no mistaking Solar is a pup who likes to be heard, he will bark at everything.

Last Sunday
was a reunion where where six of his sisters met up with their owners to spend a few hours together for a play, tea and picnic in the park, it was good to see so many healthy puppies enjoying each others company. Each one developing their own characters.

Solar was placed in a buoyancy jacket, and went for his first swim in Aquadoggies pool, I put on a wets suit and supported him, he did a lot of splashing, but by the end of his session he was getting the hang of it.

was dog training at Grazley village hall; Lots of barking, very distracted but Sue managed to get Solar focused enough to learn some important commands.

I now view from the kitchen as my presence caused too much of a distraction.

Solar went to Pets at Home to get weighed, 22.4 kgs

we had a trip to the Isle of Wight, my next blog will record our trip, it was special for a number of reasons but there is so much to say it is worthy of its own post.

Until then here are just a couple of images to whet the appetite.

Also the "Solar map" has been updated, check it out from the main menu on this blog

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Time to share

Those of you that have ever owned a puppy, will know just how much time and attention they need.

Solar is no exception, at 19 weeks of age he has began to flourish and this blog will be dedicated to all aspects of his life.

We will share as much as we can, good and not so good, as he travels on adventures, meets new friends.

So make sure to follow as this blog gets updated.

Tomorrow Solar will be going over seas to the Isle of Wight, where he will meet a special friend "Molly"

Looking forward to sharing his adventures how his training and swimming progresses.

He is a cheeky chappy that loves to please......

Early morning brew, left by litter louts in the park.