It's a dog's life

Coming out in sympathy with the dog in VICTORIA HAWKINS' Week. MRS Dog the Elder and I are now on similar treatments - and she's the one taking the lead.

Coming out in sympathy with the dog in VICTORIA HAWKINS' Week. MRS Dog the Elder and I are now on similar treatments - and she's the one taking the lead. Poor old thing (her, not me) - is now 12, which makes her the equivalent of being in her eighties - and she kind of caninely shot herself in the paw in February. Me, I'm just getting old.

If there are two things she adores, they're running and water. On 'walks' she covers miles and miles at high speed, zig-zaggedly coursing heaths and forests at high speed following scents on the air and always reappearing from completely the opposite direction to the one she set off in. Water is her other love, it draws her like iron filings to a magnet, she drills her head into filthy puddles and swims in anything from stagnant ponds to a high sea. She even swims underwater.

It was probably a rabbit hole that did for her - and do for her it really did as she's now not been able to put one of her back legs to the ground for the past six weeks. The poorly leg hangs and shakes while she hobbles and feels very sorry for herself. Though not completely snapped, she's badly torn a ligament in her knee and it looks like her running like the wind days are over. An op (£600-plus) could help but it will never be the same.

For her it's now a supplementary diet of painkillers, plus omega three oils and glucosamine (specifically to ease her joints) which are washed down with an extra dollop of tomato ketchup on her food as she looks so, well, er hangdog when we feed and drug her. The only glimmer of light at the end of her painful tunnel is hydrotherapy which she's just started. Swimming in warm, clean water - a first for her - Mr H took her last week and she arrived home looking like a poodle, having had a wash and blow-dry afterwards; so bouffant and clean that her own daughter barely recognised her.

I seem to have come out in sympathy. Having had the famous “frozen” left shoulder for 18 months, which has now recovered, my right one is now following suit.

When it hurts it's momentarily agony, so I'm adopting the vet's dog joint advice and am embarking on the gucosamine and omega three oils route. I've also offered to take the dog to hydrotherapy next week and might try and see if I can get in the pool and exercise along with her as well.

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