Sunday, 11 May 2008

Bingley’s week of misadventures

What a week!

On Monday we all took a Bank Holiday walk down by the river where we met a very small dog who took great delight in bossing Bingley around!

Honestly, this bolshy but engaging little pooch wasn’t much bigger than Bingley’s head; but he was older, out by himself, and obviously street wise. No puppy was going to tell him what to do even if he was significantly bigger. When Bing’s exuberant greetings began to outlast their welcome this little dog simply reached up and gently cuffed Bingley on the side of his head. The effect was amazing: Bing stepped back, sat down and looked crestfallen! He then let himself get chased around for a few moments (all the while looking very worried) before running over to me and hiding behind my legs. Titch meanwhile curled up by Jane’s feet and looked very superior.

Clearly Bingley hasn’t yet learned that one bark from him would have turned the tables and sent Titchy Pooch running. But Big Pooch doesn’t bark much; though he does, I have to say, possess the repertoire. If he’s shut in his dog house and wants attention he sometimes tries a very feminine bark: a high pitched shout which, when ignored, never lasts for long. At the other end of the spectrum there’s the floorboard shaking deep chest bark of a real dog, used when he’s being very assertive and needs to put something in its place once and for all. That bark is reserved for the garden hose. Dangerous things, those hoses.

But on Monday, out in the real world, Bingley didn’t seem to think of barking. He just stayed close to my ankles as we walked away. Titchy Pooch followed us for quite a while, with Bing glancing back nervously and then looking up at me as if to say ‘Can’t you do something about this, Rob?’

In the end I gave my own bark and told Titchy to go home. Which he did straight away. The relief, it has to be said, was felt all round.

Wednesday’s encounter with another dog was, however, a very a different experience and absolutely no fun at all.

Before then though, on Tuesday I was back up to the vet with Bingley in order to get his stitches removed, and to discuss what happens next in this on-going search to find the cause of his allergy. I was a bit apprehensive about the stitches because I imagined that taking them out would be uncomfortable for him; he’s also very wary about people touching his head. But in fact they came out without any difficulty; Rachel and I held him in the corner of the consulting room and she just snipped and pulled them out – easy peasy.

He’s still taking steroids, but over the next fortnight we’re going to be reducing the dosage and seeing if the itching resumes. But in fact it’s pretty obvious that the itching hasn’t disappeared entirely anyway, so I’m certain that we’ll be back to the vet in a couple of weeks and arranging to see a dermatologist.

The weather on Wednesday was beautiful, as it has been all week. In the morning I mowed the lawn and let Bingley help me clear up. As it turns out letting him do that probably wasn’t a good idea, but I didn’t find that out until Friday.

After lunch on Wednesday I decided to take Bing out for a long walk and together we set off along the riverbank to Pelaw. Alex’s water bowl has come into it’s own this week; Bingley no longer even thinks about running off with it, but will push his muzzle in and start drinking as soon as I put it down. I always take plenty of water and we have lots of stops along the way.

It was a lovely walk: the bird song is always beautiful along there and there’s always plenty to look at. Bing enjoys exploring the hedgerows and we had great fun playing in the fields.

There are also other dogs being walked in the same area, so it’s good socialisation for him. On Wednesday however, one of those dogs decided that Bingley was being too attentive to its owner and attacked him.

We’d just left a large empty field; I clipped on his lead whilst we checked the lane and then I let him off again. If I’d realised that someone was following us out of the same field I would have held onto him, but as far as I could tell we had the whole place to ourselves. As I stood looking at the views down river, Bingley ran back into the field to say ‘hello’ to this new friend. Consequently I didn’t see the attack, but I heard it and it was heart stopping. The encounter was vicious and my first experience of one dog seriously trying to hurt another.

Fortunately it didn’t last long. As I ran up to them the other owner was pulling her dog away, and I managed to grab hold of Bing who clearly couldn’t work out what was going on.

The woman was apologetic and Bingley didn’t seem to be hurt; but I was furious and, once I’d made sure that Bingley was ok, I was keen to get away as quickly as possible. Once I’d found somewhere quiet I lay him down and checked him over: he seemed fine. In fact he appeared to be unconcerned and was back to sniffing and exploring straight away.

It was only later when, as we played in the back yard after his evening meal, I noticed that a narrow strip of fur had in fact been ripped off from his side. I can’t tell you how angry and sad it made me feel. But Bingley didn’t seem to be bothered by it at all; he let me examine the affected area without any complaints and the bite didn’t seem to warrant a visit to the vet.

In fact I think that both Jane and I have been more affected by this episode than he has.

Thursday, thankfully, was a quiet and uneventful day. But on Friday Bingley started vomiting after breakfast. This isn’t the first time he’s been sick; but normally it happens once, he eats it up and that’s that. On Friday though, it continued all day.

Bingley and I have the house to ourselves this weekend, whilst Jane visits her mum in North Wales. But I know that I’ll get told off if I go on about Bing being sick! I’ll just add that I examined the ‘contents’ and found traces of the mown grass he’d been munching on Wednesday, so I’m pretty sure that he simply had an upset stomach. Although with the high temperatures we’ve been having this week, along with the attack on Wednesday, the medication from the vet on Tuesday, and the humiliating encounter with Titchy Pooch on Monday: who knows?!

A short fast followed by some light meals seems to have done the trick and he’s back to normal today.

As for me, I’m absolutely exhausted! Apologies for the lack of entries this week, but normal service should now resume. Though I don’t for a minute imagine that Bingley’s misadventures have come to an end.


Anonymous said...

My goodness what a traumatic week! I'm sure the Mighty Bing wasn't feeling too mighty. I must say I was very concerned about Bingley when Jane told me about his misadventures.

I hope this week is much less eventful and you all are enjoying the sunshine.


Rob said...

Thanks, Claire

The Mighty Bing certainly hasn’t been feeling too mighty recently. Even before his bout of misadventures I’d noticed that the medication which he’s been taking seemed to be making him a little bit subdued – although not enough to keep him out of trouble!

I’m actually not sure if last week’s attack has bothered him that much; certainly he’s still just as insistent on saying hello whenever we meet other dogs.

But yesterday as I was typing out the post, I had to break off midway and go downstairs in order to investigate some puzzling little barks. I found him stretched out fast asleep on the lounge sofa(!), barking and growling at something he was dreaming about. Do dogs have nightmares? I don’t know.

However if this morning’s walk is anything to go by, nothing has changed: Bingley is just as determined as ever to create mischief and mayhem wherever he goes!

Anonymous said...

Ooh maybe he was dreaming about chasing the scary dog? I know Harvey dreams about swimming and pushes his paws out in jerky paddle movements. Its very funnny. Harvey's snores are like earthquake tremors. Sometimes he even manages to wake himself up!!!

Rob said...

Positive thinking - that's what we like!

I’m sure that Bing really was dreaming about chasing that scary dog.

We always enjoy hearing more about Harvey. The snoring is funny, isn’t it? Bingley doesn’t snore that often, but when he does it’s very quiet and endearing. I expect that the volume will increase later though!