Well it’s been a busy month in the life of an ageing Staffy called Mary. We’ve had some fun in the snow, sunny days at the allotment, country walks and plenty of naps.
Mary absolutely loves the snow! Don’t all dogs?! There were years when she would bound around in the snow, up to her tummy, searching for the ball and burying her face in the snow to seek it out. It may be less of a gazel-like leap up and out of the snow these days, and more of a cold toed trot but her love for it has not waned. At the other end of the seasonal spectrum, she loves it just as much when lying (preferably on her bed), basking in the sun. On the very few sunny days we’ve had this month Mary can either be found snoozing in a sunny spot in the garden or watching over us, from (another) sunny spot on the allotment, while we frantically dig around her, desperate to get it all done before it starts snowing again!
Evening walks are a firm favourite. Getting out before the wintery sun sets is imperative and Mary huffs and makes that excited, high pitched whine if it’s all taking too long to gather ourselves. She used to hate her doggy coat, Equafleece have branched out into coats for dogs as well as horses, but now putting it on shows her we mean business and this walk is going to be a goodun. Then it’s home for a post walk treat, then later, dinner and an evening snooze in front of the fire.
We’ve started to try some new food that we thought would work for Mary’s ever more delicate stomach. She normally has half of a 400g tray of meat in the morning, the other half at supper time and we top this up with a dry complementary Mixer. Over the last month we have been trying a new Mixer called Nature’s Harvest (By Royal Appointment, no less! Oooo errr, Fancy). It says it’s “Wheat Gluten Free”. I did a bit of research into dogs and gluten/grains and apparently, itchiness and inflamed skin seem to be a symptom of a gluten allergy. I’m not anti-gluten, and Mary certainly doesn’t seem to have an allergy but I have noticed a bit of an improvement. She has always had this annoying habit of nibbling the area around her “bits” and on the inside of her back legs. She would nibble until it was raw and there was no hair left. It was even worse in the summer heat! On advice from the vets I would have to buy sudacrem (those of you with kids will know what I’m talking about) and lather it all over the sore areas to sooth it and stop her nibbling any more (when getting up from sitting, she would leave a lovely white Sudacrem print on the floor). Hospital Gloves would come in very useful here. Oh, the Glamour!! But, I do have to say that I haven’t really noticed ANY nibbling since she’s been on this food. It also has Linseed in it, which is packed full of lovely nutrients and which the vet has, in the past, recommended we supplement into her diet. The only place we could find it was at a nameless superstore in the section where people buy bottles of the oil to rub into their wooden furniture. It was difficult to know how much to give her too. We did have one particular “splatty” day, where we realised we’d given her a tablespoonful rather than a teaspoon’s worth. We live and learn! Seeing as the Mixer is full of so many lovely things that work for Mary, we think we’re going to stick with it for the time being as it seems to be doing the trick and she loves it! Well, of course she does. She’s Mary!