Category Archives: Rehabilitating Harry

In sickness and in health

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

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

Celebrating in Sydney Park with a dog that will (finally) walk!

We have had a breakthrough with the walking issue. It’s not been easy and it’s still not perfect, but it is significant progress – and definitely worth celebrating with a trip to one of Sydney’s most expansive and dog-friendly parks, Sydney Park in St Peters.

Hiking the hills at Sydney Park.

And here’s how we do it:

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What to do with a dog that won’t walk?

Back in the days before Harry, I used to envisage my life with a dog to be one of boundless activity, where I make my dog’s day simply by taking him out for a stroll and a sniff. Just the prospect of someone picking up the leash has sent every dog I’ve ever known into a frenzied excitement – so when Harry came to live with us last June, it was a shock to discover not all dogs enjoy a daily constitutional.

I’ll just stay here on the sofa instead.

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Howlin’ Harry

So our boy might not be a barker but apparently he has a voice.

We thought we were the only ones suffering separation anxiety when we leave him but it seems Harry is becoming overly attached to us and expressing it in a very vocal way. Continue reading

Mutt about town

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?

Is the massage part over?

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Rehabilitating Harry

Taking on a rescue dog is always something of a gamble but from day one it was clear we have been lucky with Harry.

We knew nothing of his background, how badly he might have been treated in the past, or whether he was even used to living inside a house. Fortunately, despite his fearfulness of new situations and certain people, he has never shown any sign of aggression and is eager for human attention and affection. He’s gentle and loving; a joy to be around.

Harry is a homebody.

Mercifully, since we live in an apartment, he is also one of the quietest dogs I have ever come across. Although our vet suggested Harry’s bark was likely beaten out of him in the past, he is not the entirely mute mutt we first thought him to be and will, on rare occasions, let out a loud and deep bark that belies his small stature.

As for adapting to life in the house, I’m still not sure whether he was house-trained previously or is just a quick learner, but there have been no incidents of mass destruction. This has been a particular relief for Him Indoors, who was nervous about our home being trashed by a psychotic hound from hell.

However, life has not been without its upheavals and one issue we are all facing is Harry’s fear of The Great Outdoors. The mere sight of his leash sends Harry running for cover and if we try to put on his walking harness he rolls onto his back and lies rigid as a corpse.

Once we’ve coaxed him out of the door (fresh chicken or his favourite ball encourage him, but he’s still reluctant) he gets spooked at the drop of a hat. If a dog barks, a bird swoops, or he simply spots someone he doesn’t like the look of, then he will plant his bottom on the floor and refuse to budge.

It’s heartbreaking to see him so frightened and it also means I am left with the option of either dragging or carrying him home, neither of which appeals to me (although Harry seems pretty happy with the latter).

So at this stage it’s looking like he lacks an appetite for adventure and my dreams of exploring Sydney with Harry at my heels are on hold – for now.