Good morning all!
Our life at the moment feels a little bit like a roller-coaster with it’s ups, downs, twists and turns hence the less frequent posting, for which I do feel guilty about. However, at the moment, there is just so much going on and so many changes coming around so quickly that it’s been hard to keep up, let alone pin down with a pencil. But there is lots to write about, including two big pieces of news and a travel-journal style segment reporting on our week in the Lakes, and so I will try to condense it.
I’m starting a new job next week so you might think that I’d be relaxing, soaking up my final free days before the full-time life begins, but I honestly feel I’ll have more free time when I do start my employment! Since completing my Degree, I’ve been lacking structure. And I’m somebody who needs structure. Everyday, I wake up to a to-do list. Random jobs. Things I never got around to doing whilst I was studying. Things like, ‘get jewellery cleaned’, ‘print holiday pictures’ or ‘sort through clothes’. The trouble is, now that I’ve established said list, I’ve suddenly got lots on my plate and it sure is keeping me busy, meaning blogging has taken a bit of a back seat.
Today, I put everything aside to do one job – write. There is one piece of news which I have been absolutely dying to share and couldn’t wait to open my laptop this morning to draft it up. So here goes…
Our little family has grown!
Meet Leia! (Like Princess Leia in Star Wars)
When we adopted Luna, we imagined that at some point in the future we would find her a playmate. She’s a social dog with lots of energy to burn. But never, not in our wildest dreams, did we imagine that it would be in as little as two months from her arrival in the U.K. But, as we believed with our Luna, sometimes Fate has a way of introducing us, a sentiment echoed in the poem I posted in Day Eleven, titled Little Moon.
On Saturday 25th August, Oliver picked me up from work and informed me on the journey home, ‘a dog has turned up at your Nan’s house’. My Nan lives across the road from us which is great because it means that we see her almost every day. Whilst my family had been over there, helping her with some work on the house, a white whippet-like dog had appeared, curiously gazing through the window at them. When we arrived home, the family were congregated outside the house and just as Oliver had described, there stood in the middle of them, a timid but beautiful, slender animal.
She was very skinny, more so than even the thin body type of her breed, with scratches and marks on her face, an inflamed irritation on her back legs and, as we later found out, she was also a host to both fleas and worms. She was a pitiful sight but with such a soft nature and everyone had grown instantly attached.
With it being the weekend and with the day beginning to draw to a close, our attempts to contact the authorities, local dog warden and rescue shelters came with little success. We resolved to post her picture onto several ‘lost and found dog’ sites, including Facebook, in the hopes that a potential owner might come forward. Although in her condition, I was confident she was a stray. It was decided that we would shelter her for the night and figure out a plan in the morning.
We learned later that she was a whippet greyhound cross for she is very petite but still with that iconic, athletic greyhound build. I haven’t had much experience with the breed but I have never seen a more gentle face, her left eye covered by a single brown patch. She was so easy-going and sweet, happy to follow us with those long, graceful legs. Trusting, kind and innocent. Later in the evening, as we all gathered around the fire pit in the back garden to toast the day’s efforts, she lay sleeping blissfully amongst us as if she was somewhere she had always been. Suddenly, there came a knock at the door. It was the dog’s owners.
After some discussion and debate over the dog’s neglected state, my Dad and Oliver agreed to accompany them to their home, leaving myself and my mum anxiously awaiting the outcome. We learned that the owner’s had only recently purchased her, that she was without a name and referred to only as ‘bitch’. Due to them ‘having a different lifestyle to us’, the owners planned to keep her chained up outside. My Dad and Oliver were heart-broken. But the image of her, as they were departing, howling and crying whilst laid on the cold concrete was too much to bear and so, my Dad made them an offer to buy her with the promise that we could provide a loving home for her.
They accepted. The cash was exchanged, hands shaken and to mine and my mother’s absolute joy, she came trotting through the front door, straight into her basket in the garden by the fire. Welcome home little one.
The next morning, whilst I was at work, they took her to the vets to get her checked, pick up some flea and worm treatment and most excitingly, get her micro-chipped. We named her Leia because ‘Leia and Luna’ has a ring to it and also because she is brown and white, the same colors as Carrie Fisher’s character Princess Leia.
She was officially part of the family and we couldn’t wait to introduce her to Koko (our old boy) and Luna. Koko, in his usual style, was more reserved and happy enough so long as her towering legs didn’t invade his personal bubble. Luna, on the other hand, instantly became her best friend.
It was so lovely to see Leia playing, cautiously at first but more excitably and energetically with each passing day. She is not one bit of trouble. Like Luna, a definite daddy’s girl, perhaps recognizing my Dad as the person who removed her from that place. She follows him from room to room, sprawls her long legs out of her basket, has been easily house-trained and, like the greyhound-whippet that she is, loves to run. I couldn’t believe the power and speed behind such a delicate frame. You can literally hear the thudding of the ground and witness the dust she kicks up as she stretches her legs, sprinting and galloping across the field.
Video to come soon!
Unfortunately, the pair didn’t get to spend too much time together as we were due to depart for our trip to the Lakes on Monday but what a glorious few days we had! Here’s a quick run down of what we got up to-
Monday 27th August:
Couldn’t check in to our cottage until 4:00pm and, only living an hour away from the Lakes, left setting off until the late afternoon. Filled the car up. Literally. It was bursting. Laughed off the classic ‘how long are you going for again?!’ remark from Mum. In my defense, we didn’t think there would be Wifi in the cottage and so packed lots of board games, DVDs etc. Turns out there was Wifi. Board games and DVD’s remained in the car.
Luna was brilliant during the journey. For the first time, I sat in the passenger seat rather than in the back with her and I think it worked even better! No sore arms from having to keep a grip on her harness and more room for her to spread out. We put her bed in and secured her to the seat belt for comfort and safety, she loved watching out the front window and licking the windows – Oliver not impressed.
Cottage was beautiful, so homely and cosy. Oliver took Luna out for a walk whilst I unpacked. Back at the cottage, she was a little unsettled in her new surroundings, having a whimper and attempting an escape. Not helped by her eating her biscuits too quickly and making herself sick. Perhaps missing her new best friend also! We decided to order a takeaway as it was growing dark and we wanted to allow her time to settle in. Oliver got the fire going. Big mistake. Far too little a cottage for such a powerful fire. Probably lovely in December. The three of us retreated upstairs from the heat and snuggled up in the rustic room, under the exposed wooden beams.
Tuesday 28th August:
Rose bright and early. Brew and bacon butties in the garden. Took a walk into Staveley, a beautifully quaint little village, and spotted some nice pubs which we intended to return to later for tea. Luna saw her first sheep. Not impressed. Took these cute snaps-
Followed by a quick rest-up back at the cottage,
Then drove into Windermere. Windermere is always so busy, narrow little streets filled with shops, cafes and restaurants. This was a real test for Luna. Although she has taken to most things incredibly well, she is stubborn by nature, independent at heart and so can sometimes be reluctant on the lead, preferring to be led by her own powerful nose than human hand. She managed brilliantly though and was so intrigued by the buzz of the crowds. Did amazingly also when we sat down for a bite to eat at a cafe. Something I had worried about. Being a former stray, I had images of her pulling the tables over or diving up at the waiters. She also doesn’t like to be still for too long. But she was too fascinated by the mass of people and pets, constantly moving, to whimper or worry.
Made her pose for this adorable snap, of which passers-by also loved. Judging from her facial expression, she did not.
Have you ever seen a more “mom, you are embarrassing me” face? #notimpressed
That night, had a lovely dinner at the Watermill Pub. Returned to the cottage. Luna was 0out for the count by 7:00pm and we weren’t far behind.
Wednesday 29th August:
My favourite day! Started the morning with a hike up a hill. Regretted it halfway up. Luckily so comfortable with Oliver that it’s acceptable to huff and puff and flaunt my zero stamina. Luna on the other hand charged up. All enjoyed the views from the top. Okay, I lied. We got about two thirds of the way up and then enjoyed the views before retreating.
In the afternoon, drove over to Rydall Lake. Most incredible place. Captured this video hoping it would turn into a ‘You’ve Been Framed’ moment. Gutted it didn’t.
Encouraged Luna into the Lake by accompanying her. Froze my toes off and endured the painful rocks for her to spend 00.01 seconds in it before she decided she wasn’t keen and preferred to be on dry land, where she had been receiving lots of attention from fellow dog owners.
Further along the Lake, used treats to coax her in. Success! One wet dog. Two proud pet parents. See below-
Went into Ambleside for shopping and lunch, ate at the Priests Hole. Burgers were incredible. Luna a little whingey but such a sweetheart with Daddy, this video melts my heart. She loves it when he does this with his hands, the other thing that makes her excited is when we ‘moo’ at her like a cow and similar noises. Strange dog.
Then Thursday came, and things went downhill. We had noticed that Luna had started with this cough and that it was becoming more and more frequent and accompanied by retching. Our concerns grew when I found the remains of a shredded tennis ball and we began to worry that perhaps she had gotten a piece lodged in her throat and was struggling to move it. She managed to nod off to sleep and so we decided to monitor her in case it got worse. By the time the morning came, she was no better and so I contacted a Vets in Kendal and booked an early appointment.
Once at the Vets, Luna was examined and it was confirmed – kennel cough. My older boy, Koko, had kennel cough earlier this year and so I know how common it can be. For those who don’t know, kennel cough is an upper respiratory infection which is airborne and so very contagious, particularly when dogs are in close quarters with each other, hence the name ‘kennel’ cough. She was prescribed antibiotics and metacalm and we have been advised to keep her in quarantine from other dogs for atleast one month. As a result, we made the decision to return home from the Lakes a day early and so arrived home on Thursday afternoon.
There are two problems with kennel cough. Firstly, it is difficult to vaccinate against because it can appear in a variety of forms including bacterial, viral and microbial. Secondly, kennel cough has an incubation period of up to two weeks before any symptoms show. Although we kept Luna separate from Leia and Koko by keeping her at Oliver’s house when we returned from the Lakes, it was later confirmed we had two more cases of kennel cough on our hands and that they were likely infected before we even went away. The vet said that he had been inundated with cases in the past few weeks and that with the weather turning wetter and much colder, there has been an increase in the area. Our own doggy daycare centre was also forced to close for two days to filter the air after several other dogs who attend there also came down with the infection and we think this could have potentially been where she picked it up.
As a result, we have made the disappointing but necessary decision to postpone the Sponsored Dog Walk which was scheduled to take place this Sunday, the 9th September, to prevent the spread of kennel cough.
For anyone who was hoping to attend we will be rescheduling the event and for any donations made or to be made, the Go Fund Me page will be extended to accommodate this. I apologize for any inconvenience but as you can understand, the health and well being of both our own dogs and that of the dogs attending comes first.
If you notice any of the below symptoms, take your dog to be checked out by a professional for although kennel cough is not itself life-threatening, it can lead to complications such as pneumonia. Symptoms include:
- Harsh, dry cough
- Runny nose
- Loss of appetite
- Low fever
Although Luna is struggling with the cough, she is perfectly fine in herself and never suffered any of the other symptoms. She’s still very much her typical happy and energetic self which has made following the vet’s orders of ‘gentle exercise’ challenging. Leia and Koko on the other hand have not developed as bad a cough as Luna but have both experienced lethargy and loss of appetite. The cough is notably worse when the dog gets excited, which for Luna is 24/7, and so we are working hard to keep them all rested and calm to prevent any damage to the throat.
The only positive is that Leia and Koko’s recent diagnosis has meant that there is no longer a need to quarantine Luna and so I am very excited to say that she will be rejoining the pack later this afternoon! I cannot wait to see Leia’s reaction as I think they have both definitely missed each other, despite only having a few days to bond before the holiday.
We appreciate all the lovely get well soon messages we have received. If your dog has previously suffered with kennel cough, please get in touch with any tips or tricks! A few people including the vet recommended Tixy Licks cough syrup so we are going to give this a go!
Speak soon and love always,
Charlotte, Oliver, Luna and Leia!