Broken Bones – Part One

Rosie is just a little bit taller than a whippet with an athletic build, her skin is thin with little fur, and is prone to injuries, her crazy mentality means running into a tree during a walk around the woods is common, along with the Lurcher Dramatics that follow. Every Lurcher owner I have spoken to is aware of ‘Lurcher Dramatics’, for those unaware this is the ‘dramatic behaviour that follows any type of fall, accident or injury, to ensure the maximum amount of attention and sympathy from a human is received.’ Rosie performs this act perfectly as she wines, cries and limps from an incident then suddenly bounces back, jumping and running around within a 30-second gap.

In January 2018 Rosie fell from a 6ft wall at Banff Beach in Aberdeenshire Scotland, landing on a stone, fracturing her toe. It instantly swelled and turned a purple/blue bruised colour, she yelped and starting limping but it was genuine.

thumbnail_FRONT FOOT-Foot Cranio-caudal SmA-18_06_2018-15_45_27-625An X-ray confirmed the fracture and the vets advised it would take at least six weeks of strict rest to recover.  For such a small fracture Rosie had a bandage that covered her whole paw and a section of her leg with a splint between the toe, which had to be changed two to three times a week by the vet to ensure her skin, stayed healthy. The second X-ray showed no signs of healing, and recovery time became longer, and she became incredibly bored and fed up, soon after the second X-ray. Trying to keep her calm and occupied in the house became a never-ending battle, Flyball had returned from the Christmas break and she enjoyed regular long walks in the hills, yet all she could do was walk around the garden on the lead for a few moments. She was a ball of energy constantly trying to explode and after a few days of painkillers, Rosie learnt to lift her paw and run around the house on three legs to burn off some energy.

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Despite best efforts, Rosie’s thin skin started to break down, she had heat sores and was ripping her bandage off. I was really worried that the sores were going to become infected and Rosie’s leg looked sore and painful myself and the vet agreed to remove the bandages and allow the skin to heal. This decision meant Rosie really had to be careful with her toe, I gave her a few weeks, however, she was struggling to remain calm, it was then decided (with the vet) to give Rosie a small dose of sedatives to calm her down. Rosie wasn’t on them constantly, she would get one if she was being left alone or if she wasn’t settling. Without them, Rosie would have continued to run around the house on her fractured toe and it would never have improved.


Message for the Vets

I am really lucky to have such a fantastic veterinary practice. (Don View Vets in Inverurie Aberdeenshire, Scotland.) Their proactive attitude towards Rosie meant she was seen quickly and didn’t have to wait long for treatment. I left Rosie in their care while she had an X-Ray and received a phone call within hours to say she could come home. They took care of most of the insurance claim process, by completing the paperwork and sending it away with all the relevant information. Simple things, such as regular evening appointments stopped me from having to take huge amounts of time off work and their constant guidance, advice and reassurance took a lot of unnecessary stress away. – Thank you.


This blog post is in two parts as there is so much more I want to share, keep your eyes out for part two.

Please share your experiences below, me and Rosie would love to hear from you. x 

Separation Anxiety

Note I am not a professional dog trainer or behaviourist and don’t claim to be

Returning home after leaving Rosie alone for 30 minutes to find she has messed herself has been the most hearting breaking part of our journey together and the most difficult challenge to overcome. Locking my front door and hearing her bark the house down, as I walked away, filled me with worry, stress, and heartbreak, making daily life feel like a battle. Here is what I have learnt from Rosie to manage her anxiety.

DITCH THE ROUTINE


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I would put my shoes and jacket on, pick up my car keys, say goodbye to Rosie and leave the house. (This is what I call my normal ‘leaving the house routine’). Completely unaware that Rosie was picking up on my actions and learning quickly that after I had completed my routine, she was going to be left alone, giving her time to stress and worry before I had gone. Instead, by switching up my routine, Rosie couldn’t get anxious, about being left alone, as my behaviour didn’t suggest she was going to be.  Changing the way I left the house required a little creativity, however simple things, like leaving my jacket in the car, unlocking the door and putting my shoes on earlier, were practical switches, that even with a busy lifestyle I was able to achieve. Also by randomly wearing my jacket indoors, without leaving the house, picking up my keys, unlocking the door then doing something else and going outside for different lengths of time, helped me desensitize Rosie’s association with the sound of my keys, the rustling of my jacket and the noise from opening the door with being left alone, so when I did leave, she didn’t think anything of it.

HELLO & GOODBYES


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I try not do to the whole Hello and Goodbye ‘thing’ with Rosie. (This is definitely, easier said than done). Of course, every time I leave Rosie, I want to tell her, how much I love her, to be good and that I will be back soon, but the only benefit from doing this is personal. Saying Goodbye to Rosie became another ‘leaving the house routine’  that she could associate with being left alone, plus I was rewarding her anxious behaviour by giving her loads of attention before I left. Rosie is always super excited to greet me at the door when I arrive back, even though it makes me feel loved, making a big deal about my return is also making a bigger deal about me being away. It’s emotionally hard and doesn’t mean I love Rosie any less, however, she had to learn that being left alone is not a big deal!

KEEP THE MIND BUSY


IMG_20180304_104127629Rosie takes great pride, in taking my shoes apart and getting up to mischief when she is alone, and when you think you have moved everything that she could possibly get her paws on, it’s almost certain she would have found something. What I try and do is keep her mind as busy as possible, obviously a good walk or run before I leave means she tired and happy to go for a nap but once that’s over, it’s really time to let the fun and games begin.  I leave the TV on, (Rosie loves Pitbull and Parolees) this keeps any distracting noises from outside to a minimum, and I leave puzzle games and toys for her to find and keep her mind busy while I am away. (My top toys & puzzle games to follow)

Separation anxiety is an emotionally draining behaviour to overcome, torn between heartbreak of leaving your dog stressed and the practicalities of life. Make sure you keep your dog safe if they are/develop destructive behaviour through appropriate crate training, become aware of your own behaviours and don’t forget to be patient.

Please share your experiences below – Rosie and I would love to hear from you x

The Begining

 

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Rosie aged 6 Months

Welcome to Lurcher Life With Rosie, this is her story.

Rosie was born on the thirteenth of January 2016, she spent the first six months of her precious life in a chaotic family home. Through no fault of her own, she ended up as an Ad on  Gumtree.

While she was blissfully unaware of the changes she was about to encounter, I was searching online for something to love and care for after a difficult time. Finding Rosie was the best thing to happen to me, I just hadn’t realised it yet.

I paid £120 for her, a tub of food, the collar around her neck and a squeaky snake toy. The car journey home was a complete nightmare, she was stressed, hyper and barked all the way. It was late once we got back, I had bought her a bed but she wanted to be with me. We compromised and she slept on her new bed in my room.

The weeks and months that followed, I often wondered what I had gotten myself in too. Rosie suffered from separation anxiety to the extreme where she would mess herself if she was alone for more than half an hour. Reactive on the lead towards people, dogs and moving vehicles, she was a thin, scared puppy who deserved a new start in life and I set out to provide one for her.