Finding grass in unexpected places…

I promise never to mention the weather again (probably) but we've had some damp cloudy days, and a few good heavy showers, this week and it's amazing how much more green everywhere's looking. Typical! In a week when we could have used a few dry days to do some filming...

Red, long coated Chihuahua dog wearing stylish diamong studded collar
Alfie, now restored to his true glory, proudly wearing his collar

Considering it's been a summer of very little grazing, we seem to have had more than our fair share of grass-related injuries in the dogs.

Since Fleck's grass seed incident we've also had an ongoing problem with Alfie, the Chihuahua. He's had a chest infection (or something) for several weeks, and on a few occasions suffered awful gagging/coughing/reverse sneezing fits and breathing difficulties.

Several courses of antibiotics each appeared to have solved the problem, but it kept coming back - each time worse than the last. Last Friday night I was quite sure he wouldn't make it to the vet in the morning, so wasn't surprised that she asked to keep him for an hour or two for a chest X-ray. It revealed an unidentified mass on, or in, his trachea and he was scheduled to go back for more X-rays and an endoscopy.

Of course, I feared the worst.

To my immense relief (and to Andy's, despite what he claims about The Boys) the endoscopy revealed a very long piece of grass trapped beneath Alfie's soft palate, causing  a build-up of mucus and infection. We have it in a sample jar in the office. The grass is longer than Alfie's actual head, so Lord knows how he managed to fit it in!

Alfie's returning to his old self now and, just as when Fleck was suffering with her grass seed, we now see that he hasn't been feeling well for some time: there have been mornings when he couldn't even be bothered to bark at the postman! The day he completely ignored a very large, open, bag of pigs' ears in the back of the car was the day I realised he must be suffering.

The thought that we might lose Alfie has made Andy really appreciate the little chap. Must have done because, despite the barking, Andy hasn't yet threatened to put the grass stalk back where it came from.

Chester is a black and white, long coated cross breed with Papillon ears
In the interests of editorial impartiality - Chester, our Papillon-Chihuahua cross (or Mongrel, as Alfie insists on calling him)

We still think of Carew, Ezra and friends as The Puppies, but by this time next week they'll seem like huge gangly teenagers because we're expecting a new litter on Friday.

It's a bit late in the year for us; we like to have puppies in spring, when the weather's getting warmer and they can spend long days exploring outside, but it's still exciting. I've never met a new litter of border collie puppies that I didn't like (whether mine or someone else's).

Stand by for wall-to-wall puppy photos! We may even manage to squeeze them into the new DVD.

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