Thursday, 20 October 2011

My Special Boy

On the 15th September 2007 Oscar was born, he was the runt of the litter and was even born dead and had to be resuscitated.

We had decided to get a puppy a few months earlier and after lots of research on what breed had decided on a Staffie, we even traveled all the way to Doncaster to meet his Mum when she was pregnant, so the first time I met him he was wriggling around with his litter mates! Sadly only 3 of them survived and when he was 4 weeks old we traveled back to Doncaster to pick our puppy, from the second I met him I knew that he was ours, he was half the size of his brothers but I had to have him.

We set the date for him to come home, 21st November 2007, we were on holiday the fortnight before and would get back on the 19th, so would drive down a few days later, I was so excited that we emailed from the middle of the Atlantic ocean to arrange to pick him up on the 19th! I roped in my Mum to drive me from Newcastle to Doncaster to pick him up after we got off a flight from Barbados, on the way home me and Oscar slept together cuddled up!

Oscar has changed my life, he opened my eyes to the plight of the staffie and the ignorance surrounding the breed. Going to training classes with Oscar inspired me to formally go back to learning and get qualified as a behaviourist after working for a number of years helping rescues and from that I set up Bright Paws. When I qualified as a canine massage therapist and had to travel to West Sussex for 5 weekends Oscar came with me, sat by my side in the car, attending the lessons with me (its hard work for him getting massaged all day lol), going to the pub on a night and snuggling up in the hotel to watch TV!

Oscar has always suffered from allergies since he was a tiny puppy, grass and pollen being the major cause which means we have such a challenge over the summer but control it as best we can using herbal and conventional medicine. Over the years it has been his ears that have been most affected, with dermatitis in his canals and secondary ear infections he has been on and off steroids for years and has undergone 2 operations. As a result he has little cauliflower ears which has a continued into his canals making it almost impossible to clean his ears properly. He had a bad infection recently and this lead to burst ear drums and today we have made the decision to go through with a full ear canal removal on the left side in an attempt to get his balance back (his head is on the side) and prevent further problems - we will see how he is after it and may have to do the second ear next year.

This will mean my little boy will be almost stone deaf, I am devastated but determined to do everythign I can for him, so we are learning doggy sign language together and learning to adapt, and of course Bud (his best mate in the whole world) has come into our lives to help too. So my special boy gives me another opportunity to learn, an opportunity I wish i didn't have but I do.

I am so grateful Oscar came into my life, so happy that i can be there for him and that we get to learn and adapt together. I plan to blog about our experiences over the coming months and years (hopefully not all posts will be this long). And I hope I can help other deaf dogs adapt in the years to come too.

Monday, 17 October 2011

'The Last Walk' - Pedigree Adoption Drive

In the UK over 20 abandoned dogs are put down every day. This year, the campaign is about saving abandoned dogs from their Last Walk – the walk that sadly ends in a vet’s room where they are put down.

This year the 'Pedigree Adoption Drive' is dedicated to helping more dogs find their forever home. Ripley.

To generate as much support from the public as possible and to help us save more abandoned dogs from their last walks, for 1 week dog lovers everywhere are being called upon to take part in the world’s first “virtual dog walk around the web”.

Below you can see Ripley, he is going to do a virtual walk across the world and you can help him. Ripley loves to go to the beach, for a walk in the forest, to the park and you can take him there virtually and interact and play with him along the way.

Every completed walk will unlock a £1 donation from Pedigree and the target is £100'000

Please help raise funds for this wonderful initiative and help save a dogs life!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

The Canine Mirror

Have you ever looked into a dogs eyes and seen yourself staring back, the depth of love and feeling that you get from a dog is boundless, their ability to show you who you are is unparalleled. They reflect your emotions so when you are happy your best friend will turn up with a stick in his mouth and a wagging tail, when you are sad he will come and lay a head on your lap and when you are anxious he will be unsettled and worried too.

There is nothing more special than that bond between a dog and its human and this quote really captures it for me:
‘He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog.
You are his life, his love, his leader.
He will be yours, faithful and true until the last beat of his heart.
You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.' (Anon)

This quote inspires me every time I read it. For me it captures the essence of love, the special bond of complete unconditional love we get from our pets.

We all need a sense of belonging, it is what helps us create stability and helps us be ourselves. The freedom to be who we are not what someone wants us to be allows us to be our best, confident selves. This is just as true for dogs. They each have their own unique and special personalities.

It continues to astound me that most people see this wonderful relationship as ownership, you own a dog! Ok legally that might be the phrase we use but ownership means that you can dispose of a belonging. I can take an old handbag to the charity shop, sell it on ebay or get rid of it, why does society accept that it is ok to do the same with a loving, living creature? I like to think of it more as a partnership or friendship, yes you are the care giver in that relationship but its built on mutual respect and understanding.

I don’t believe in ownership, I certainly don’t believe in pack leader theory and I 100% believe that having a dog is the most wonderful gift – a friend, a teacher and a companion all wrapped up in a furry coat. I rescued Mavis 2 years ago, she was due to be killed at the vets because her owners didn’t want her, she couldn’t have pups anymore so she served no purpose. She had been rescued and was so scared that she was growling and snapping at everyone, when I first saw her I feel completely in love, she literally skipped over to see me (despite being almost 15stone in weight and having horrendously bad hips), she has never growled at me and she has from that day never left my side.

When I need a break from work we go for a walk with the other dogs and as Mavis can’t play too long we sit together in the grass and watch the others play – there isn’t a business decision that isn’t ran past her first and I am often chatting away to her in the office . When I am happy we have dance parties in the sitting room, me dancing her wagging and spinning, when I am sad she rests her head on my shoulder and gives me a cuddle and with Mavis as my ultimate mirror there is no way I can be sad for long.

Lets celebrate the love and insight dogs give us!

Monday, 8 August 2011

Introducing Bud!

We have someone very special to introduce you all to. Here at Bright Paws we just cant resist a wrinkly face and when we were approached a few weeks back to see if we knew anyone who might be interested in rehoming a Bulldog we knew just the people - us!

This is the gorgeous Bud, he is 3 years old and was looking for a new Mummy and Daddy. He has come from a very loving home where he has been spoilt rotten into another very loving home where he will continue to be spolit rotten.

He oozes personality and character, full of life and cheekiness! On day 1, Bud (who doesn't like water) was kitted out in his new swanky fleece harness, when we got to the pond, he looked at me and ran straight in, head first and came out dripping wet and full of mud, with a cheeky grin on his face! He did the same yesterday into a very muddy pond and he learnt a very important lesson in life, if you want to go in the stinking pond with your big sisters you will end up in the bath!

Its so amazing to watch dogs interact, Bud is our second boy and I was a little worried about how Oscar would take to him, but they are the very best of friends, they cuddle up together, play together and get into mischief together. I have noticed a huge difference in Oscar too, he has taken on some of Bud's calm attitude and mellowed a little.

The girls were a little more wary, Mavis was officially in the huff when he came but over the first week she came round and was caught cuddling on the bean bag with him. Bella is high energy and at first was very wary of him, he did have a little snap at her but she told him off and since then they have been fine - they are the two that will squabble so we know we have to be careful with things such as food and toys but yesterday they were on the sofa sleeping together so it seems in time they will become good friends too!

He can be a little nervous, but i think the influence of his new brothers and sisters will help him get a little more confident and I know we have a lifetime of fun and love ahead of us! We look forward to sharing more of his antics .. don't forget Mavis has her own facebook page and I am sure she will post updates on Bud, she has been neglecting it a little lately but I have had a word and she will post more, oh and you can follow her on twitter @mavisbrightpaws