The past 18 months have been a challenge for Harry, who has been battling health issues which bordered for a brief time on the life-threatening.
In the last year he has made a good recovery, although he has never quite regained his former energy levels.
The problems began in 2015, when he began to suffer with a series of digestive complaints. He was losing weight rapidly, unable to tolerate food and plagued by chronic diarrhoea.
After a long journey of biopsies, blood tests, scans and eventually exploratory surgery, Harry was finally diagnosed with irritable bowel disease (IBD).
Visiting hours at the vet hospital
A dog with IBD is no fun for anyone. It’s been heartbreaking to watch our gentle boy suffer and his activity has been very limited. Continue reading
We love a night at the movies but are less keen on leaving our hound home alone. So Centennial Park’s open-air Moonlight Cinema, with its dedicated Doggie Nights, is a highlight of our calendar.
Dogs are in fact permitted at any Moonlight Cinema session, on the condition that movie-going mutts are well-behaved and kept on a short leash. The regular Doggie Nights, scheduled throughout the season, are extra assurance that your dog is a legitimate and welcome guest.
Both Harry and Him Indoors are fond of their creature comforts, so Gold Grass tickets are worth the $35 investment: best seats in the house, a comfy bean bed to lounge on, and food and drink wait service from the friendly staff – who all seem to be dog-lovers, judging by the level of attention Harry received.
Harry spots a particularly enticing picnic on the back row.
Until airlines start allowing dogs to travel in the cabin en-route to the UK, I will, on occasion, be forced to travel without my trusty terrier in tow.
A recent visit to see family in Britain presented the dilemma of who would care for Harry while we were away. So when we heard about Perfect Pet Sitter Maralyn Nash through a post on the excellent Puppy Tales blog, we were keen to find out more about the service she offers.
When Harry discovered Maralyn was a keen ball-thrower, he was happy for her to come stay.
It’s somewhat ironic that, while places to pamper your pooch in Sydney are prolific, it’s still a challenge to have man’s best friend tag along on the most mundane of activities. Harry can sleep over at five-star hotels and enjoy gourmet dinners in dedicated pet restaurants, but he cannot set so much as a paw in the local hardware store, florist’s shop or newsagency.
It’s enough to give an impeccably house-trained pup a complex, so we like to assure Harry of his social acceptance with regular trips to establishments that actively welcome four-legged patrons.
Paws Point pet deli and boutique is a treasure trove of treats – the ideal place to stock up when you’re expecting special canine company. Harry was like the proverbial kid in a sweet shop as he inspected the extensive range of chews, pig’s ear pieces and various other animal parts, all laid out in glass lolly jars.
I can smell treats!
Sydney’s temperate climate and emphasis on outdoor living certainly makes life easier for those of us who like to get out and about with our dogs. Coupled with the fact that the city hosts numerous open-air festivals and special events, it means there’s always some kind of entertainment on offer.
This week, Harry and I headed to Hyde Park to check out Art and About City of Sydney’s “festival of art in unusual places”. A cultural outing combined with a trip to the park – perfect for the pair of us. The giant snail – one of 24 dotted around Sydney for Snailovation – was proving to be a popular photo opportunity, so we duly lined up to do the honours with Harry.
I am surely better looking than this snail…
The absence of a family member is always a little perplexing to Harry, so when Him Indoors recently abandoned the two of us in favour of a mini-break with the boys, our dog spent the first day repeatedly checking every room to try and find him.
Harry gazed up at me with those oh-so-soulful eyes that seem to express a thousand words. Why would anyone want to go away without us, he asked? You, who are a tickler of tummies and scratcher of ears, a bountiful goddess of plenty raining down meaty treats on those in your care? And me, the greatest ball player known to man.
You make some excellent points, Harry, said I, while passing him a piece of sausage, but this weekend gives us the opportunity to indulge in one of my favourite pastimes. Yes, we are going shopping!!
Harry examines the day’s spoils.
We have been making slow but steady progress with Operation Socialise Harry. Twice daily walks around the neighbourhood, combined with visits to friends and family (both human and canine), have gradually seen his confidence increase and he is handling his new life and all the changes associated with it like a trooper.
He’s coping well with new experiences – and even enjoying some. A wash and blow-dry at Clovelly Dog-O-Mat turned out to be a treat for our pampered pooch. Owner Lian and her staff were so kind and gentle with our new charge, he soon got over his shyness and lapped up the attention (not to mention the back massage).
Is the massage part over?