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Challenge: We love our pets

We Need to Talk About the Dog…

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If you’re lucky enough to have a furry member of the family, or maybe more than one, I hope you’ll be able to relate to this. Sure, they cause a lot of mess (I HATE the fact that no matter how much I clean there is ALWAYS dog hair everywhere!), slobber over you when you least expect it, and on wet days you can guarantee that there will be muddy paw prints traipsed through the house, but all in all dogs are fantastic, and the good part massively outweigh the bad.

We have two dogs in our household, a lab and a border collie cross, both of which we have had since before the kids were born. We worried about how they would react to new arrivals in the house, and obsessively kept our eyes on them when they were in the same room, but apart from the odd tail pull and growl, we’ve had nothing to worry about.

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Our kids are now 5 and almost 2 and a half, and they absolutely adore their doggies. I grew up with dogs, as did my wife, and we both agree that there was little better. We hope that even though they are 5 and 6 now, both Odie and Layla (the dogs not the kids) will be companions to the kids for years to come. And this is where it gets tricky…

Firstly, a gross-out warning, the following is not a particularly nice subject, but I feel that our experiences might help someone in the same situation. Recently, we have been noticing that Layla has been pooping a lot more, and also trying to poop but nothing is happening. At first we dismissed it as an upset stomach (it happens), but it carried on for more than a month. As well as this, the poop was really runny and an odd colour, and she seemed to be having trouble passing it. First we looked online, where there are quite a few helpful articles and sites, and a lot of very scary, unhelpful ones. I guess this goes for animals as well as humans! There were lots of articles online that I read, but I have to shout out both our local vets, Dale City Animal Hospital, and this odd but actually quite informative infographic on poop – never thought I’d be reading something like that but it was actually quite helpful, and the vets were wonderful and reassuring as always.

As the weeks went on, we ran out of excuses – upset tummy, change of food, stress (kids), ate something funny etc etc, but eventually we bit the bullet and took her to the vet. Initially, the vet couldn’t find anything wrong, but after another visit where she was sedated, examined and x-rayed they found an ‘obstruction’ in her bowel. I still don’t know quite what this was, but it was lucky that we found it in time. It was removed, and although she took some months recovering she now seems back to her best. Needless to say the kids were beside themselves worrying about her, but all’s well that ends well. Here's Layla feeling sorry for herself:

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So, the moral of this story is please, please, please – if there’s something that’s abnormal with your dog, don’t wait to get it checked out, go to the vets as soon as you can. It might be an extra expense for nothing, but the heartbreak we almost felt at the possibility we might have left it too long and it would have been our fault that she had died was bad enough. I wont let it ever happen again, and we will continue to treasure every moment with our furry friends, as a family.

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