Ben – Living With a Blind Cocker Spaniel

A lot has happened since my last blog. Forgive me, readers and followers. We have been so busy. Well, one reason I couldn’t sit down and write on was that our Dina had to be put to sleep. She…

Source: Ben – Living With a Blind Cocker Spaniel

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Ben – Living With a Blind Cocker Spaniel

A lot has happened since my last blog. Forgive me, readers and followers. We have been so busy.

Well, one reason I couldn’t sit down and write on was that our Dina had to be put to sleep. She had cancer in her last stadium and we never even had noticed it. She only got slower on our walks, panting more than usual, stopping during walks to sit down and, the last day before I took her to the vet, she didn’t walk in the fields at all, she went straight back to our car after about 20 metres. When the vet told his diagnosis, I was heart broken, devastated; crying my eyes out. We decided at the vet’s to take her home, if only for another day to say Good Bye. She slept with us in our bed, I, holding her head up all night because she couldn’t breathe when laying down due to the fluids in her lungs. In the morning, we took her to the vet. I cannot put into words what was going on in my head. Nothing. Terror, Fear. Guilt. I was trembling and my blood pressure went up to the extreme. My Eric supported me as good as he could because his love for our dogs is incredible; now, he had also to take care of me. My struggling Dina, slowly drowning of body fluids in her lungs, perfectly knew what was going on. She looked into my eyes, calm. They say, dogs live in the moment. Oh, what am I saying? This moment tore my heart to pieces. I cannot put into words those moments, forgive me. I don’t want to. I remember Dina, always will, as the most gentle, quiet, soft girl she was. Adorable. Her ashes are in our living room with candles and a picture – her in the garden, her favourite spot, thinking, looking and sniffing my flowers. Now, who never had a dog, a Cocker Spaniel, stop reading! I am not silly; not crazy. I am living with dogs since early childhood. Cocker Spaniels are – people would say – my hobby. They are far more. They share my life, they are my companions through life.

Our Molly, Dina’s daughter was mated 5 days before this all happened. She had a litter of three puppies, one boy, two girls. You might guess? I had to keep one grand child of my Dina, the one more in character like her than the others. She’s black, Dina was chocolate chip roan. Not looking like her but, I feel Dina’s spirit in her! Don’t laugh. I told you, stop reading if you don’t know about dogs!

The boy and the multi coloured girl are sold and will be picked up on the 20th of September when they are 8 weeks old. I did my utmost to find good families for them. The multi coloured girl is going to a local family; they promised to keep in touch. The boy is going to a work mate of my Eric. The multi coloured girl I’ve sold to a family with two lovely daughters. Actually, I’ve sold her to the older daughter. A girl who bonded with the puppy and the puppy with her. A family with dog experience and – I judge by my heart – who, I think, will love her and care for her and give her a forever home. I am happy with my decision, really happy. Eight weeks with puppies from birth till they go – well, they are your heart!

I am not a professional breeder and not a ‘backyard breeder’ by any means. I love m dogs and especially Cocker Spaniels. Let me tell you why, so you might understand.

15 years ago, I have moved to the U.K. I was alone, terribly alone. My Eric and I thought about getting a dog. We looked in the internet, up and down. The dog would have to be not ‘too big’, sporty, intelligent. No ‘lap dog’, no giant, not aggressive. We wanted a dog who would fit into our life.Into our little house and back garden.  Accidentally, I hit an English Cocker Spaniel page and instantly knew: that’s the one! Since then, I could not imagine living without this breed! I love all dogs. I am a dog lover, with passion!!! I love all – or most – animals on this planet. But, the English Cocker Spaniels is something special! Highly intelligent, loyal, playful, sporty, not too big for nowadays lifestyle. Not aggressive. Good with children within families. The eyes, the eyes, the eyes, the ever wagging tail! His desire is always to please.

I’ve never bred for profit. Believe me or not, I don’t care. I am breeding every few years to keep this kind of dogs at their best! I am passionate about  not breeding for profit!!!! I am active on many levels against our human, profit loving abuse of animals! My dogs are part of the family. I would say, the greatest part of my life! I’ve had mutts. I’ve had several dogs during my lifetime ( a long life, I know, I am blessed). The English Cocker Spaniel is a breed which will accompany me till the end, I am sure of it.

‘A dog is not only for Christmas!’ A cheesy, silly sticker on cars. But, it is true! Puppies are hard work to train and care for them. But, let me tell you, the reward is out of this world! Wolves have accompanied us through aeons and, at the end of the day, each and every dog is a wolf at heart. on’t take it lightly! Don’t choose by colour which suits your house, don’t chose by fashion. Go with your heart! The puppy chooses you! Look into their eyes! Connect!

Most of all, have a look at shelter dogs! Puppies are gorgeous, but not only for Christmas! Shelters are full of dogs which deserve better. I’ve had shelter dogs and they were great till the end. Be their ‘top dog’, guide them through life and, I am sure, your reward is connection with nature and what life is about! A dog’s love is unconditional. Unlike our human love.

I’ve sold my special puppy to a wonderful family! Actually, I’ve sold it to their daughter. I’ve seen myself in her. There is a bond which cannot be explained but, I spot it. May her time with my little puppy be blessed.

 

 

 

 

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One Lovely Blog Award

Ocean Views and Book Reviews

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I am very honored to have been nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award by a very lovely lady, Cheryl who writes the blog “Plucking of my Heart Strings”. Thank you so much for this nomination! Please check out her blog which is filled with great posts on a variety of topics that pluck at the heart strings and more. She’s even a fellow military supporter!

Here are the rules for accepting the award:

1. Thank the lovely person who nominated your blog and follow them.
2. Display the award and add this set of rules to your post so that your nominees will know what to do
3. Nominate 15 other lovely blogs listing them in your post and notifying them via a link in one of their blog posts.
4. List 7 interesting facts about yourself to the post.

7 Facts About Me : )

1. I am…

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Living with a Blind Dog – new puppies have arrived.

It has been a while and a lot has happened.

Ben finally seems to have adjusted to his blindness. He is a cheerful, gentle little follower and brightens up our days.  His mate for 9 years, our Dina, sadly had to be put down on the 30th of May 2016, due to cancer which had been undetected and was in the final stage. Her lungs were drowned in fluids and we had no choice other than to end her suffering. Nonetheless, it was a terrible decision to make and a harrowing feeling of guilt still tortures us. We miss her very much and all the places we had been going together remind us every day of her.

For a few days, Ben seemed to be looking for her in the house. When I fed him and Molly, her daughter who had never left her side during the last few agonising days, didn’t eat for a day and seemed to be lost on walks. They went to her little basket and none of them made an attempt to sit or lie in it even though, while she was alive, there  often had been a competition of who could snatch whose bed or toys!

I am sure, they both sensed our sadness which led them to show a quiet solidarity to our tears. It is amazing how dogs mirror the feelings and emotions of their owners and try to comfort in their own doggy-ways, like sitting quietly looking at us and trying to be good and please even more than in the usual Cocker Spaniel ways. But, as it is, dogs are living in the moment and as soon as we went back to our daily routine, they seemed to adjust to our life as it was before Dina had left us. We don’t know if their memories work similar to ours but, whenever we remember Dina and mention her name, Ben and Molly seem to look in expectation that she is coming into the door or around the corner. Is it our imagination? Who is to say?

A few days before Dina went over the rainbow bridge, we had our Molly mated with a little poodle. A coincidence which helped us to deal with our grief. A grandchild of Dina and, of course, we planned at once to keep one of the puppies.

Molly had an uneventful pregnancy. She is half-worker and was active throughout her pregnancy, running and jumping up and down the settee as ever. It was me who had a problem, though. With our Dina, we had 3 litters of puppies during her life time, from one of which we had kept our Molly. Dina was a reliable dog, who I had bonded with from the first day in a special way. She was wise. She was gentle. Calm. Highly intelligent and a wonderful caring mother to her pups. Molly is completely different to her – or so I thought. A strange feeling of some kind of jealousy crept into my mind. Whatever Molly did or how ever she behaved, I compared her to my Dina. Molly could do nothing right to live up to my expectation. In hindsight, I think, I was re-living my wonderful experience with Dina and there was no room for Molly to help me with my grief.

I didn’t trust her to be a mum to her pups like Dina. It was me, not Molly, who kindled this ill-feeling about her pregnancy and whelping. I kept saying: ‘She can’t do it like Dina did’, whenever she jumped around, little selfish girl. Several times we went to the vet’s because I thought there was something wrong with her. When a scan revealed she only had 2 to 3 pups, I said to my Eric ‘See, she’s not like Dina. Dina had 10 pups and did so well’. How irrational was my behaviour!

Close to her whelping day we had a terrible heat wave in East Anglia, over 30 degrees C which, of course, made her panting frantically, dribbling saliva, throwing up and whining. I started to panic and on her due day took her to the vet’s again. Even with my experience with a whelping dam, I’d lost all trust in Molly and felt left out by her at the same time. The vet bills exceeded our savings, meanwhile, and they were totally unnecessary in hindsight. All was ok.

After two sleepless nights during the heat wave, on the night after yet another visit to the emergency vet’s, I went to bed and left my Eric to watch over her, even though the vet said confidently that on this night the whelping had started and she would now go into stage II. Whatever devil was riding me, I don’t know.

At 7 o’clock in the morning, my Eric woke me up saying: “Molly did so well. I completely kept in the background while she delivered, cleaned and suckled three little Cockapoos. They are beautiful!”  I turned to the other side and said,  ‘I am tired. I’ll be down in a minute’. How could I do that? I, a great dog lover, sleeping with Dina and her babies in a pen, studying their behaviour, overwhelmed by the experience of my dogs giving birth to new little bundles of joy? A mother of fourchildren myself, a grandmother to 12 grandchildren, a woman who believes in the circle of life and worshipping the never ending cycle of life – how could I so cold heartedly neglect my Molly? How could I have excluded myself of this precious moment which so often had given me the greatest happiness, the joy of life itself? I have no explanation other than I had not yet come to terms with the loss of my Dina. Grieving her death had kept me from taking the next step to welcome new puppies into my life.

Ben, on the other hand, the blind old boy, showed more compassion and excitement over the new arrivals. He stayed in the kitchen next to the room where Molly was whelping, peeping into the door whenever the little puppy voices squealed. He was there, not directly with Molly but, ever since the moment she had the puppies, taking part in his doggy way, exactly knowing his place in this event.

During the next days, whenever I wanted to have a look at the puppies, Molly growled and snarled at me. She kept me from taking the puppies up to look which gender they are. She growled even when I only took a few steps towards her whelping box. Dina never had behaved like this. From the moment she went into labour until the puppies were weaned, I was close to her,  together we shared and lived the experience as intense as possible.

I started to hand-feed Molly with chicken, gave her water. She lets me hand-feed her but still, I am not allowed to touch her puppies. I will have to give her time, I know, I will have to give myself time to adjust and get on with it and enjoy.

As I’ve said before, dogs live in the moment and they mirror our behaviour to the dot. It was action from me and re-action from my dog (I don’t like to use the the word ‘bitch’).

We are a pack, I am sure of that but, my position had changed from the leader to a minor, failing member at the moment when I had decided to doubt Molly’s instinct abilities.

I, the ‘know-it-all’, the woman who had grown up with dogs and never has been without dogs throughout life. I, who have a friend living with and studying wolves and their pack behaviour. I had followed my own human feelings,  had given in to my human way of grief. I am not feeling guilty about it. I am the human member of my pack. Molly has shown me this from the moment I’d turned away from her. Only, I didn’t understand. She didn’t understand. Now I have to earn my position from scratch with her, my position of her human leader whom she can trust with her life and that of her whelps. Ben never had lost his position in the pack, it was me who failed. The human member of the great pack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Review: “The Briton and the Dane” by Mary Ann Bernal

“The Briton and the Dane” by Mary Ann Bernal is a very well written and researched historical romance that is as educational as it is entertaining. The author portrays life in the 9th c…

Source: Review: “The Briton and the Dane” by Mary Ann Bernal

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BEN – Living with a blind dog

It’s been a while since I’ve continued our story with Ben. We are slowly all getting used to the situation. As far as it is possible to look at your beloved pet thinking, he never sees …

Source: BEN – Living with a blind dog

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BEN – Living with a blind dog

It’s been a while since I’ve continued our story with Ben.

We are slowly all getting used to the situation. As far as it is possible to look at your beloved pet thinking, he never sees sun light again on our walks. It is spring now and how much did he always enjoy being out in the fields!

It seems very strange that most of the problems he has, are inside the house and in the garden. He still bumps into everything, especially when he is excited. His position in the pack surely is the lowest now. My two Cocker Spaniel girls have taken over and sometimes are even ‘bullying’ him. He doesn’t come into the living room any more in the evenings when we are watching tv or are reading. I’ve tried many times to lead him gently into the living room, even offered him his old place on the sofa next to me. The girls wouldn’t have it! They growl at him and when I tell them off (I am still the pack leader, no matter how hard they sometimes try to get this position as well) they simply stare at Ben. He cannot see their body langeuage but somehow he can feel the tension, I think.

In the kitchen, he has a large cushioned basket. Whenever I put his toys into it, one of the girls snatches it away into her own basket. So, his basket is bare of toys, which he used to love and never got tired of carrying them around and offering them to us. But, he never defends his toys to the girls. At night, his favourite place is now next to the garden door, for whatever reason. When he walks, he keeps mostly to the sides of the walls and the kitchen cabinets.

I am sure, he is still enjoying the walks, though. The other day, he was rolling in the freshly cut meadows and ran, yes he ran! I don’t understand why he is not using his nose much to track us. I always have to keep an eye on him because sometimes, he seems confused about the direction we are walking in. I keep talking to him on walks, calling him whenever he goes the wrong way. I’m not a very talkative person and often forget that Ben can’t see when I am pointing outside at something or when going about my housework. The other day I said: ‘Look Ben! A birdie!’ He looked puzzled trying eagerly to please me and to find the birds to flush them. I felt really sorry for him.

One thing I’ve noticed is, when we are outside, Molly and Dina are stopping at whatever they’re doing, looking at Ben, who is too slow now to run with them like before. I know, dogs don’t feel pity like human beings but, they feel he still is one of the pack and we have to keep together outside.

Molly is in heat now, and we decided to have 1 litter of puppies from her and keep one of them. Ben has always been great with puppies. Years ago, when we had a litter from Dina, he lay all day in the garden in front of their box guarding them. Even when they grabbed his tail with their little gritter teeth, he never complained.

I am so looking forward to the puppies. It will cheer us all up, I think. Living with a blind dog is heart wrenching for me. Am I selfish? I think, yes. I have been living with dogs all my life. In fact, they are my life. I am not working any more and my children are all married and have their own families. My family are my dogs. They always will be. People who never had a dog would not understand.

 

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