Oz Working Dogs - Assistance & Working Dog Equipment

For assistance/service dog equipment, as well as guide, therapy, detection, search & rescue, police and dogs in training equipment check out my website http://www.ozworkingdogs.com.au - I make and sell vests, capes, belly bands, harnesses, handles and more... and will post to the world!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Back from weekend away, what an adventure!

11 months 2 weeks 4 days old 

A photo of the Pub Hill Farm homestead area, that is all fenced
off and available for dog romps. Knightley adored it.
Well, Knightley, hubby and I got our weekend away on the coast. It was a beautiful place to stay, very close to Narooma, and I highly recommend it for anyone from Canberra, Sydney or Melbourne. It's a B&B called Pub Hill Farm, and is amazingly dog friendly. They have five border collies, one 11 week old puppy, and a mix of sweet gentle older dogs and still vigorous young dogs. All absolutely lovely dogs who are well used to getting along with guest's dogs.

The beautiful view from the homestead down to the tidal inlet
which had hundreds of oyster beds. If you know anything about
oysters you are likely to know they only like clean water. The
water here is pristine and so clear.
There were another two dogs belonging to other guests, and then Knightley. The whole homestead area is well fenced off so Knightley got to romp with all the other dogs. Unfortunately the x-rays done of his hips, aside from delivering their awful blow, seem to have irritated Knightley's hip - maybe did some soft tissue damage - and gave us a glimpse of what is to come. Within about 45 minutes of romping with the other dogs he was badly limping, so we had to restrict his romping time, much to his disgust. It was heartbreaking to see him limping like that - but it MUST be due to the x-rays as Knightley was completely without any limp even after an hour at the dog park. Still, it was just a great place to go to, and at night the sky was breathtaking as we were 10-15 minutes away from the nearest town and that was a small town anyway, and the sky and air were absolutely clear. You could actually see our galaxy, the milky way, as a pale .... well, milky.... band across the sky. It was just stunning.

Knightley had a bit of a restless first night there, possibly reacting to our stress. We were of course thinking a lot about the discovery of his severe hip dysplasia and what it means for him, me and us. We have more or less come to the conclusion that we will get another puppy and throughout the weekend we talked it over quite a bit - the pros and cons. So we were all still quite a bit in shock when we got there on the first night, and I didn't sleep much at all. Neither did Knightley, he kept on coming up to me and pushing his nose against my face during the night. It was kind of cute and maybe he heard I was restless.... but it didn't actually help my mind turn away from Knightley and his hip! The conversation I had with the vet on the phone just kept on playing through my mind again and again.... "and now for the hip results.... I'm really sorry but they were terrible...." .... again and again. My poor beautiful Knightley.

Enjoying the new experience of the beach, with new sights,
smells and sounds! He simply adored it.
Anyway, the next day, after a lovely breakfast with the other guests, and a chat to the lovely people who run the place we were off to walk along the boardwalk that runs over the lovely clear water of the bay and little fish and sometimes stingray. Knightley was keen to see everything and was very adorable! We then went off to a dog friendly beach, and it was there where the real fun began. As I don't really trust Knightley's recall (must fix this, must concentrate from now on on turning Knightley into a perfect pet), we kept him on his long line which actually went fine, along with a very non-restrictive tracking harness. 

Knightley going backwards as the edge of the water comes up
towards him... he couldn't work out what was going on for a
while. I think he thought the waves may have been alive!
Knightley had never been on a beach before and at first ran backwards when waves were coming in, then chased them back out. It was very funny. By the time we left he had got the hang of it though and hubby and I were the ones running away from the waves as it was VERY cold, being winter. We could see him tiring, and starting to limp even more, but he was loving this new environment - snapping at the waves, scratching at the sand.... but it was when he started digging like a mad thing that we just didn't have the heart to curtail what was obviously bliss to him.

Knightley having a serious digging session. He got so deep
he found it hard to get out of the hole each time, and we had
to help as it kept on caving in at the sides. He definitely
has a fixation for digging!! Maybe I should get him a sand pit!
He ended up digging a hole about as deep as he was, although we did help him a bit which seemed to set him off to even further efforts. He was an extremely good digger... half rabbit or wombat perhaps! Eventually he lay down in the enormous hole he had dug, rested for a while in the cool sand, then started using his head to dig and move sand. He looked quite the fright! We knew by that stage that with his hip the way it was (his left is much worse than his right, although his right isn't good either), he was going to pay for all this unusual activity later, but it just didn't see fair to drag him away from something he was so enjoying.

Look what I did!!! Aren't I a clever dog!!? That's me with my
hand on his back.
We rested for a while together, enjoying the beach ... trying to persuade Knightley to take a break from his exertions. He lay in his hole looking very pleased with himself. Eventually he went in for another dip and this time didn't run away from the waves. I think if we were to go back we'd have a enthusiastic sea dog! It certainly was a beautiful beach, and it's a dog beach 24/7 even in summer, which is great. A lot of beaches in summer only are allowed dogs at certain times of day to make space for tourists during the prime swimming times. I'm sure we'll be back to Pub Hill Farm, and back to that beach. Hopefully with a puppy.

Comfortable in the water shortly before we left.
Knightley sitting after the day on the beach and more. You
see his bad hip pointed towards the camera. He is sitting like
this more after the x-rays stirred things up... tucking his leg at
a weird angle under his body. Usually when a dog sits you
expect to see their back paws. But you can't see Knightley's,
it's like he has to tuck his foot under to stop his hip flapping
or something. It looks rather unnatural to me. He does this
lying down too - but has done that for about six weeks and
I had been concerned about it.
We had a relaxing afternoon, had a nice little snooze as Knightley needed the rest and so did I - we were both very sore from all we had done. I had lovely local Kingfish for dinner, and Knightley even got a bit from me, plus a few chips (fries for my American readers). After our respective naps, Knightley had really tightened up and was walking like an old dog with a very pronounced limp. It was obvious that the day had taken its toll, but I am not sure if I would have done it differently, given the chance. He had such an amazing time seeing all the new sights and smells on the boardwalk, and then the beach was amazing, and romping with the other dogs and especially the tiny cute puppy was just wonderful for him. It was heartbreaking though, to see him hobbling so badly. We have been home a little more than 24 hours now and I have kept him more or less on bed rest, just very short calm walks, and as I had guessed it would, the inflammation is going down and he only has a slight limp now. I am sure the x-ray caused the hip problems to be exacerbated and the limp should go away - for now.

The following day after another lovely breakfast we left Pub Hill Farm after a lovely chat with the owners about dog health, Knightley and the overbreeding of pedigree dogs. We were very much on the same page, and they said they hoped to see us again. I am sure they will! What a fantastic place for dogs.

Knightley having nice break on our trip home. He was much
admired as usual with people always wanting to pat him.
Our trip home was pretty uneventful. We stopped on our way back at a place called Bateman's Bay, which many Canberran's will know as a popular and rather close holiday spot. Knightley got lots of complements, and people telling us how beautiful he is. Now when I hear that, I have a desire to tell them that he may be beautiful on the surface but you should see how ugly his hip x-rays are. :( But, I just thank them and move on. He is still a very beautiful boy, despite that appalling hip which has so torn up my heart.

Me and Knightley, pardon the quality of the photo. It always
makes me extra sad in those moments when I see how very
beautiful Knightley is, but know that he is now to live a life I
tried so hard to have him avoid. It's like there is a dark, awful
secret hiding under all that beauty.
He enjoyed peering at the seagulls and boats, but seemed to think it was a good idea to climb down the rocks towards the boats lol. I don't think so Knightley!! He was quite well behaved though and I kept catching myself thinking "oh I should have brought his vest and I could have done a bit of training".... before it once again dawned on me, once again like a pile of bricks, that that part of my relationship with Knightley is over - at least the in public part.

It has definitely been a very hard pill to swallow, for both me and my husband, but we are working on accepting what the fates have served up for us. In the meantime I have contacted the very first breeder I ever contacted, who I really liked the look of, but whose litter I was interested in was born all girls, and then the next one would have been a long time away. So I sent an email to her and am waiting to hear back. Ideally it won't be all that long until we find a new pup. I don't want to be pregnant with an untrained pup!!! 

Knightley wanting rather badly to scramble down the rocks. Bateman's Bay
turns into the Clyde River which was an important tributary in this part of
Australia before there were roads in good repair. Many little ferries and pleasure
craft can be found plying its waters.


  1. Hi Alyssa,
    So sorry to hear the heartbreaking news about knightley ,you have worked so hard with him over the last year and its a cruel blow for both of you.
    looking at his pictures he is indeed beautiful and thats credit to you .
    enjoy everyday with knightley i know he will get the best of care.
    Glad you all enjoyed your weekend away , sounds an amazing place and just what the doctor ordered.
    take care all of you .
    love always
    Gwen ( mother - in- law )

    1. Hi Gwen,
      Yes it was heartbreaking, but I guess we have to try to accept what has been dished out to us. Thinking back there were signs, but we didn't realise their significance. He will definitely get the best of care, he is so much a part of the family that even when we get our next pup, in many ways he will always be our number 1. It was really a beautiful place to stay, and Knightley loved it. We definitely needed it after the last couple of weeks.
      Take care yourselves!

  2. I"m so glad you still got to get away for the weekend and had some fun. I'm devastated to hear about Knightly but glad he still got to enjoy the beach. My girl loves the beach too.
    Thinking of you at this time.

    1. Thanks so much. Knightley's limp is slowly fading, but is still definitely there. :( I am contacting breeders already to try to find a new puppy - at least it takes my mind off the disappointment. It could be a while before the right puppy turns up though.