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This is Mary: part three

It’s been an extremely eventful month for Mary, and so it would seem, for us, her people.

It all started out quite normally, we have decided to venture into trying some new Nature's Harvest wet food for Mary and we’re very pleased with it, especially Mary. It doesn’t smell like dog food at all, it smells like human food, which is a real bonus. You can even see all the rice, peas and carrots in it! It seems to agree with her, giving her a glossy coat and less itchiness, so this was considered a success. And all of the packaging is recyclable too. For years I have felt masses of guilt when placing trays of un-recyclable material into the bins. Now, with the new food, ALL of the material can be recycled so we’re extremely pleased with ourselves.

My husband, Dom, was away over Easter, and I decided to take my daughter for a little jolly to Devon to see my parents and, essentially, share some of the childcare. Mary always loves a trip to the grandparents! She gets lots of fuss and there’s plenty of space for her to run around. I do have to be careful of the extra treats on offer though. Thank you, mother!

This year we managed to keep all of the Easter chocolate out of Mary’s reach, so there were no emergency trips to the vets like the Christmas of 2009 where Mary managed to eat an entire bag of gold coins that Santa leaves in the bottom of your stocking. Not knowing Mary as they do now, the vet said they would have to try and force feed her some bicarbonate of soda. Unsurprisingly Mary happily dived into a fresh bag of bicarb thinking it was a new type of treat and the chocolate money immediately came back up, gold foil wrappers and all! It was an embarrassing day when we had to, sheepishly, return the following year for the same treatment. How she managed to get past us 2 years in a row I have no idea!

The weather has been lovely the last few weeks again, so Mary has had lots of visits to the allotment to oversee the hard labour, and many hours of sunbathing interspersed with coming in the house for a drink and lying on the cool kitchen floor. There may even have been the odd ice cube fall out of the freezer when Dom was making us an evening G&T. Mary gets very excited over some frozen water. Calorie-free treat!!! There has been a bit of gardening: again, Mary overseeing the work and noting where she has access to fresh compost for a little nibble. It has become such an issue that I have had to cover all the garden pot plants with a layer of gravel so Mary doesn’t have an unwelcome snack.

But then things got a little too serious. On Saturday evening, when Mary was having her final visit of the day, Dom noticed that things were a little looser than usual (apologies for the tmi!) but we didn’t think too much of it at first. Then at 1.30am Sunday morning I was woken by Mary, obviously wanting to be let out again. At 4.30am we were woken by a very poorly dog, who managed to hold it until she got into the garden where the world fell out of her bottom. My poor husband sat up with her over the remainder of the early morning as she could do nothing but stand in the middle of the living room, shaking and every so often visiting the garden again for a bout of diarrhoea or vomiting. By the time our daughter woke up at 8am, Mary had stopped being ill but was still very poorly. We have been here before, once or twice, due to her interesting scavenging habits so we knew that keeping her hydrated was the key, especially if she didn’t want to eat or couldn’t keep anything down. Being a Sunday, our vet wasn’t open so we rang the emergency vet and made an appointment. We hoped we didn’t have to keep it but could just purchase the required rehydration medicine as we had some idea of what we were dealing with, but after another bout of vomiting we decided that it was in Mary’s best interest to see the vet.

With an injection of an anti-nausea drug, a rehydration solution and a hefty emergency vet bill I took Mary home to convalesce, with a vomiting episode in the car on the way home to really top the morning off.

Things didn’t change much over the rest of the day or sleepless night and Mary point-blank refused to drink anything, so we had a trip to our normal vet first thing on Monday morning. She was suffering with severe dehydration and was admitted, to be put on a saline drip and intravenous antibiotic. For the following two days Mary was kept on a drip at the vets during the day and sent home each evening. Slowly she started to eat a little and finally started drinking the fluids that were offered.

We just couldn’t work out how she had got so ill! As it had been so hot for a few days we hadn’t taken Mary on any long walks, but kept them shorter and in the shade, or at beginning or end of the day to avoid the heat. We’re very careful to keep her water bowl topped up and to not let her spend too long lazing in the sun in the hot weather. We hadn’t seen her eat anything dodgy that she found lying in the field, as is normally her wont, but she must have snuck something past us! It was the most worrying few days for us in the life of our time with Mary, and not something we would like to experience again.

To top off the eventful month, we decided to give Mary a bath when she was feeling better. We certainly thought she could do with a freshen up after her visits to the vets and seeing as I was pregnant with my nearly 4-year-old daughter last time she had a bath it was about time. It was a family event with all of us getting involved (and wet) but now we have a fluffiest and sweetest smelling Staff you ever did see.

I’m happy to report that Mary is very much back to normal, enjoying her meals as she always does. She is certainly bothering me, as I write, letting me know that we are in the run up to her dinner, and can she have the carrot ends she’s seen waiting for her in the kitchen. Coming!……….

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