Friday, 19 September 2008

Day 42

Another milestone was reached today - sad for me, barely noticed by Bran...

He's outgrown his little beds :o( Fi went off with the outgrown soft bed and then when I came in from waving her off, Bran refused to go near his little plastic bed because the bigger bed that normally lives in the kitchen had been temporarily placed in the lounge and he much preferred to spread out in that, thanks all the same. Typically, it will now have to be stored until we next see Auntie Fi, but for the first time in over 4 months I have 2 large plastic dog beds side by side in the lounge. It's sad for me because it means my little baby boy is growing up, but it also reminds me that the last time those beds were together in the lounge we still had our collie boy :o(

The beds in the kitchen have now been replaced by a covered duvet and they are both thoroughly enjoying sprawling on that in the sunshine.

I'm already in negotiations to secure him a larger crate as although he has enough space in his to lie down comfortably and turn around and everything, when he sits upright in it his head is only an inch or so from the top! It's only likely to be a matter of days before I need to be replacing his food bowl with a larger bowl too. He'll have been here 6 weeks tomorrow and it seems to have gone so fast because he's changed soooooooooo much in that time!

Day 41 - Thursday 18 September

Auntie Fi came for an overnight stop and was quite surprised to see how much Bran had grown!

She brought 2 of her own dogs with her: Twister - the lovely old barky dog - and Chester - the mahoosive, clumsy, elephant dog! Flora adores Chester, but he had mainly been brought along for a visit to remind me how much growing Bran *could* do ;o)

Chester is a Chesapeake Bay Retriever and is absolutely huge, but has zero spatial awareness - not a great combination! Hahahaha!! He is also toy obsessed, but an absolute sweetheart. Flora was soooooooo thrilled to find that he was still here when we got up this morning.

Bran wasn't quite so great when he took Twister's lead on the "who can bark loudest" game. He no longer has a "cute" puppy bark, but very much a big boy bark and it is really quite loud! He has a lot of barking stamina too so can go on and on and on and on.........

Anyway. Photos of the visitors.....

Little and Large

Chester - not the smartest cookie in the jar ;o)

Auntie Fi, Twister and Chester

Running away after springing a surprise visit on those poor kids in the background!

Group Shot - don't they all look deceptively well behaved?!

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Day 40

I'm making some initial enquiries into possibly doing some gundog training with little Pickle. I've got no intention of getting to a point where we go shooting (staunch vegetarian household!) but I think the discipline and variation could be very good for him.

He's already showing me just how very clever he can be and just how well he can get into mischief if left to his own devices! Retrieving is also proving to be a good game, although at the moment he's displaying his drives as rearranging everything. He'll fetch shoes from the shoebox and place them all over the house - he's not bothering to chew them, just moving them to new places...

I spoke to a lovely friend who already does gundog training with her lab and she gave me some very helpful advice and suggestions, plus I've been Googling like a mad woman this morning.

I don't think we're going to be able to start on anything properly until next Spring which is perfect timing as it means that Bran will be that much older and I can have already put a good obedience foundation in place by then.

Of course, this may all come to nothing but it's interesting to read about at the moment.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Day 39

Ooh I've been a bit slack about keeping this updated!

Ok. So what's happened since I last posted?

Last Saturday we took Bran to a car boot sale. I had 2 main concerns - that he would jump up at everybody for attention and that he would jump excitedly on every dog he met. He did me proud :o) Lots of people wanted to say hello to him but each time he stood with his 4 feet on the floor and wagged whilst he was was petted, then turned away to trot off with me. Except for one little boy. This particular little boy was utterly smitten and sat in the middle of the busiest aisle to say hello properly. Bran was thrilled and climbed on to his lap to give him great big poopie snogs! There were lots of dogs there too - all very small dogs. Again, despite my concerns, Bran was a star. He was interested in each dog but only ever went up to touch noses and wagged at them. Unfortunately, almost every dog he tried to greet growled or snapped at him :o( The only dog that I allowed him to bounce with was a poodle who bounced over to us, dragging it's owner behind, with it's tail wagging, it's eyes wide, ears up and grinning. They bounced together for just a few seconds before the poodle snapped at Bran and then pinned him! To make him feel better, I introduced him to ice-cream. I think they are going to be very good friends!

On Saturday evening we had another first, Bran stayed out of his crate while we were eating. Bless him, he just slept at the end of the sofa. When Sophie sat right next to him with her food he didn't pay attention other than to harrumph at losing a little more space! I find it hard to believe that he's a *real* lab sometimes ;o)

On Sunday, I took The Comparison Pic of Flora and Bran sharing the same bed they shared just after he arrived. Don't they look comfy now??? Hahahaha! Bran stayed for about 2 seconds - just long enough for me to take the photo - then legged it because he was too uncomfortable!

Yesterday evening, Bran went to the vets as he's been limping on his front leg for about a week. I put it down to playing too hard with Flora for a little while but a week was long enough. The vet was patronising towards me and was expecting far too much of Bran (he wanted him to walk in a neat, straight line through the waiting room which was full of people, cats and dogs!) but conceded that he did appear to be limping slightly but on the leg opposite to the one that I suspected was causing the problem. He examined the left leg first (the one that I was concerned about) and found almost immediately that Bran was sore around his elbow and that the bones were clicking when manipulated. He also checked the right leg and found no problem. He then told me that he thought Bran was small for his age!!! When I mentioned that most people thought that he was quite big he told me that he might well have a growth spurt in the next month or so! He then weighed Bran and found that he now weighs 15kgs: so he's put on 9kgs in the 5 weeks that he's been with us. Not bad for a small dog ;o) Anyway, current treatment is that Bran has a week of metacam and a week of rest. I'm not entirely sure how that's going to work, but if he's ok by the end of the week then it'll be left at that. If he's no better or worse then he'll be going in for x-rays as it may be the dreaded elbow dysplasia :o( Fingers crossed for improvement!!

I nearly forgot! On the way to the vets I had another Proud Mummy moment. We walked Bran through the park so that he could go offlead for a little while and we met a lady with a black lab and a golden retriever. The black lab bounced over to say hello and Sophie was amazed that "he even dropped his tennis ball" to greet Bran as the labs she knows treasure their tennis balls too much to drop them at some strange dog's feet ;o) Bran then raced back with the lab to greet his mum and doggy friend, whilst Sophie and I walked on slowly. Eventually, I stopped and called him and the little angel left the 2 bouncy dogs and lady-who-had-treats without a second's hesitation. The lady was amazed and asked who old he was. She was astounded that he had such strong recall at just 19 weeks. I was very proud. Especially when her 2 dogs took off to the other side of the park and totally ignored her attempts to get them back!!

I feel blessed every day to have Bran in our lives, but I feel extra proud of him when other people comment on his fantastic behaviour. He's such a good boy xx